History of Pompeii
Pompeii was an ancient city located near modern Naples, in theItalian region of Campania. It was founded around the 8th century BC byOsci people. Pompeii was destroyed in 79 AD, when the volcano of Mount Vesuvius had a violent eruption that buried the city in ash. The people of Pompeii had very little time to react, as the ash came down on them suddenly, trapping residents and visitors alike in their homes and streets. The visual sites this creates – where the city was frozen in time– have made Pompeii one of the most famous tourist attractions.
The city was mainly forgotten during the Dark Ages, and rediscovered in 1748 by modern-day researchers. Archeological excavations began in 1763 and continue to this day. Scientists have worked hard to retrieve a snapshot of life in the past, and despite being largely destroyed, visitors will still find a wealth of amazing sites and ruins.
How Much Time to Spend in Pompeii?
The answer to this question depends on the individual. Those with limitedtime, who only have a couple of hours to spare, will find the city enjoyable but may want to choose a guided tour in order to maximize their time and experience. Those wanting to study the history or explore at length would benefit from taking a full day or overnight stay.
The city itself is quite expansive, with extensive ruins that tell the story of the city before it was buried in ash. There are numerous archeological sites such as villas, temples and even a gladiatorial amphitheater. The Forum and Temple of Jupiter are particularly impressive and should not be missed.
Those seeking the ultimate experience may want to consider a full day tour that takes in the ruins and surrounding attractions such as the Solfatara crater, theHidden City of Oplontis, the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, andthe spectacular view from the top of Mount Vesuvius.
When visiting Pompeii, do not forget to add on some time exploring the famous local food and wine scene. Wine tastings and gastronomic tours of the region should not be missed.
Costs of Visiting Pompeii
The cost of visiting Pompeii depends on the type of trip you choose. A basic self-guided tour is free, but those wanting a guided tour will have to pay for it. This cost can range from €15 for a basic city tour, to several hundred euros for a full day excursion.
In addition to the cost of the tour, visitors should factor in the cost of food and transport. Fortunately, one of the best attractions in Pompeii is the range of budget restaurants and cafés near the city gates.
Safety Precautions at Pompeii
Since Pompeii shows the devastation and destruction of a volcano, precautions must be taken. Visitors must remember to wear comfortable shoes, bring plenty of water and sun protection and dress appropriately for the heat of the Italian summer.
Also, it is best to avoid the hottest part of the day, between 11am to 2pm, when the temperature can be quite unbearable. Visitors should also remember that the ruins are hundreds of years old and may be slippery or even dangerous.
Stock up on Souvenirs
Pompeii is one of the most famous archeological sites in the world, so stock up on souvenirs. There are a range of products on sale, from local art,jewelry and pottery to amphoras and ancient coins. Pompeii is also home to quality leather goods and souvenirs.
Foodies should not miss the local produce including unique vinegars, limoncellos, honeys and pastas.
What to Avoid
When traveling to Pompeii, it is important to remember to protect yourself. Tourists should be aware of pickpockets and should guard their possessions at all times.
It is also important to remember that Pompeii is an ancient city, and visitors should respect it. Eating, drinking, smoking and touchingare not allowed in the ruins, and visitors should also stay on the official pathways.
Pompeii also provides educational opportunities, with an interactive virtual museum, walk-through displays and even guided tours with trained instructors. The city is perfect for discovering the ancient world and its interesting customs.
The extensive range of artifacts, remains and ruins have amazed archaeologists, historians and tourists alike for centuries and visitors can explore the area with the help of insightful guides and audio guides.
Popularity of Pompeii
The popularity of Pompeii has grown exponentially over the past few decades and the city sees millions of visitors each year. The main sights can be crowded, particularly during the school holidays and special events.
Despite this, the ruins are still spectacular and are popular with families, teachers, archeologists and photographers. Visiting in the off-peak season is a great way to avoid the crowds and experience Pompeii in a different light.
Visiting Under COVID-19 Restrictions
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, tourists have had to adjust to increased safety and hygiene measures. Visitors to Pompeii must wear face masks while exploring the ruins and must adhere to social distancing rules.
The city is strictly enforcing a one-way system and limited entry times, and hand sanitizer is provided at the entrances.
Pompeii is open six days a week and closes on Mondays. Tickets must be purchased online in advance, and special rates are available for students and families.