Pompeii is a famous ancient Roman city located near Naples, Italy, best known for its sudden destruction in 79 AD when Mount Vesuvius erupted and engulfed it. Pompeii has been a popular tourist destination for centuries, giving visitors an unparalleled glimpse into antiquity. But is Pompeii open all year round?
History of Pompeii
Pompeii was founded around 7th or 6th century BC and soon flourished, becoming a thriving commercial hub. Despite the town’s prosperity, its fate was sealed when a volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius buried it under layers of ash and pumice in 79 AD. The city was forgotten until its rediscovery in the 18th century, and since then it has been meticulously excavated and preserved. Its ruins are truly remarkable, as many artifacts have remained almost intact since the calamity, allowing us to get a closer view into life in Ancient Rome.
Is Pompeii Open All Year Round?
Pompeii’s archeological site is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. While it is common to see visitors queued up for its entrance, the answer to the question ‘Is Pompeii open all year round?’ is not a straightforward one. Unfortunately, Pompeii is not open all year round. Though the ruins of Pompeii are publicly owned and access to the site is free, the site is actually cared for and managed by the Special Superintendency of Archaeological Heritage of Naples and the Amalfi Coast.
The Special Superintendency opens the archaeological site ona limited basis to maintain its stability and state of preservation. Over the years, it has limited the visiting season to just March to October. The time frame has been extended to late November and beginning of December in some years, making it possible to visit the site in late autumn.
Ever since Pompeii was re-discovered, preservation continues to be a challenge as the site is subject to periodic calamities like floods. Maintaining a balance between the safety of visitors and the well-preserved artifacts requires a certain amount of vigilance and dedication by those responsible for the site, which is why its opening hours are restricted.
What Visitors Should Definitely See When Visiting Pompeii
Despite the limited visiting time, a tour of Pompeii can be a rewarding experience. Whilst at the site, visitors should definitely visit one of the many surviving amphitheatres, the ruins of a lavish villa and the thermal baths. They should also make their way to the House of Menander, a well preserved Roman home estimated to have been originally built around 79 BC. This is one of the best preserved homes at the site, and has many beautiful wall frescoes on display.
Moreover, one should visit the Forum, which served as the Roman town’s market square and a place for public meetings back in those days. It’s interesting to note that many shops and buildings in the Forum still have the charred remains of people and animals in the ash, providing a heartbreaking reminder of the destruction.
Time Estimation for Visiting Pompeii?
The site spread over an area of 166 hectares and there is much to see and explore. It is advisable to give yourself three to four hours to explore the ruins properly. Since the ruins are expansive and spread over a large area, it is also prudent to get a tourist guide and join a tour group to properly appreciate the site. Also, since summers in the area can get quite hot and humid, visitors should plan their trip accordingly. It is best to visit Pompeii in cool comfortable months like April, May or October.
The Necropolis of Pompeii
The Necropolis of Pompeii, an extensive complex of tombs, is located in the Vesuvian hills outside the original city limits. Spread over an area of 70 hectares, it is home to around 1500 tombs. Though the Necropolis was discovered in the 18th century, it has been left largely untouched and has not been excavated. The area has now been fortified, but the tombs are clearly visible from the trail and are fascinating to look at.
The feel of the Necropolis is quite different from the ruins of the city. Being in the middle of such a tranquil place can feel like one has stepped back in time. Visitors are recommended to pay special attention to the structures that exist in the Necropolis, and explore the various anthropomorphic tombs and other structures. There is no entry fee to the Necropolis and it remains open to visitors all year round.
Pompeii is surely a fascinating place to visit, and the ruins of the ancient city provide an interesting window into the past. While Pompeii may not be open all year round, visitors who plan their trip accordingly can still get a chance to explore the ruins of this former hub of Roman civilization. Visitors should definitely take the time to visit the Necropolis as well, and explore the many tombs that line its ancient streets. The history and antiquity of the site truly make it a unique experience.