The most impressive archaeological sites in the world
The Archaeological Park of Pompeii is one of the most impressive archaeological sites in the world. Located in the Campania region of Italy, it was an ancient Roman city that was destroyed by a volcanic eruption in 79 AD. The eruption of Mount Vesuvius buried the city in volcanic ash and pumice, preserving it for thousands of years.
A brief history of Pompeii
Pompeii rises on a plateau at about 30 metres above sea level, formed by a flow of Vesuvian lava, overlooking the valley of the River Sarno at the mouth of which there was a busy port. The origins of the city remain uncertain. The oldest evidence available dates back to the late 7th up to the first half of the 6th century BC, when the first city walls made of tuff, called ‘pappamonte’, were built to enclose an area of 63.5 hectares.
A mixed population of Etruscans, Greeks and indigenous people, which led to the development of the city and the construction of a fortified limestone wall according to the Greek system (5th century BC). Towards the end of the 5th century BC, the Samnites descended from the mountains of Irpinia and Sannio, swarmed into the plains of what is today called the Campania region (which means “fertile plains”) and conquered the cities near Mount Vesuvius and the coast in a league with the capital, Nuceria (Nocera).
Today, the ruins of Pompeii are a major tourist attraction, offering visitors a unique glimpse into the ancient past. It is an important source of information about the daily lives of the people of ancient Rome.
The city was well-preserved after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, allowing archaeologists to uncover a wealth of artifacts and structures. Visitors to the park can explore the city’s public and private buildings, including its temples, baths, and theaters. There are also several houses and villas that date back to the first century AD, giving visitors a sense of what life was like in ancient Rome.
The nine distinct regions
Spanning a huge area of 79 hectares, the site of the Archaeological Park is divided into nine distinct regions. These regions are the oldest parts of the city, and they each have their own unique features and stories to tell. They offer a window into the past, and allow us to learn more about the culture, religion and daily life of this incredible civilization.
The first region is the Regio I – the Forum. This was the political, religious, and economic center of Pompeii, where the citizens would gather to conduct business, worship their gods, and take part in political debates. It is also home to the Basilica, a large hall where the citizens could hear important announcements and take part in judicial proceedings. This region is also where the famous Temple of Apollo can be found, as well as the Temple of Jupiter and the Temple of Venus.
The second region is the Regio II – the Commercial District. This area was where the citizens of Pompeii would conduct their daily business, buying and selling goods and services. It is also where the famous Macellum is located, a large market complex that served the needs of the citizens. This area is also home to the Temple of Isis, the Temple of Mercury and the Temple of Vespasian.
The third region is the Regio III – the Residential District. This area was where the citizens of Pompeii lived and conducted their daily lives. Here, the houses and villas of the wealthy and influential citizens can be found, as well as the homes of the working class. This region is also home to the Temple of Neptune and the Temple of Minerva.
The fourth region is the Regio IV – the Entertainment District. This area was where the citizens of Pompeii would relax and enjoy themselves. It is where the theater and amphitheater are located, as well as the famous lupanar, which was a brothel. This region is also home to the Temple of Jupiter and the Temple of Fortuna.
The fifth region is the Regio V – the Sanctuary District. This area was where the citizens of Pompeii would go to worship their gods and goddesses. It is home to the Temple of Apollo, the Temple of Venus and the Temple of Isis.
The sixth region is the Regio VI – the Suburban District. This area was where the citizens of Pompeii would go to conduct their business away from the hustle and bustle of the city center. It is home to the Temple of Mercury, the Temple of Vespasian and the Temple of Neptune.
The seventh region is the Regio VII – the Industrial District. This area was where the citizens of Pompeii would produce goods and services for the city. Here, the famous Villa of the Mysteries can be found, as well as the Temple of Fortuna.
The eighth region is the Regio VIII – the Agricultural District. This area was where the citizens of Pompeii would grow their crops and raise their livestock. It is home to the Temple of Ceres and the Temple of Bacchus.
The ninth and final region is the Regio IX – the Necropolis District. This area was where the citizens of Pompeii would bury their dead. It is home to the famous Villa of the Mysteries and the Temple of Pluto. The nine regions of the Archeological Park of Pompeii are incredibly important for the study of Ancient Rome and the Roman way of life.
The ruins of Pompeii are also an important source of information about the art and architecture of ancient Rome. Many of the buildings are decorated with beautiful frescoes, marble statues, and other works of art. These pieces provide insight into the culture and values of the Roman people. Visitors can also admire the city’s engineering and building techniques, which were advanced for their time.
In addition to the ruins, the Archaeological Park of Pompeii also contains several museums. These museums feature artifacts from the site, including coins, jewelry, pottery, and other objects. There are also displays of art and artifacts from the surrounding areas, providing insight into the cultural history of the region.
The Archaeological Park of Pompeii offers a unique and fascinating look into the past. For visitors who are interested in history, culture, and art, it is an ideal destination. With its wealth of artifacts, frescoes, and architectural remains, it is a must-see location for anyone who wants to experience the history of ancient Rome.
The Archaeological Park of Pompeii is open to visitors from 8:30am to 7:30pm in the summer and from 8:30am to 5:00pm in the winter (timetables can change).
HOW TO GET THERE
- Porta Marina, Piazza Esedra: Circumvesuviana Napoli-Sorrento (stop Pompei Villa dei Misteri)
- Piazza Anfiteatro: Circumvesuviana Napoli-Poggiomarino (stop Pompei Santuario)
- Train FS Napoli-Salerno (stop Pompei)
- Pompei Link is the combined train + bus service that in about 15 minutes connects the Pompeii station to the Archaeological Park.
- SITA from Napoli and Salerno
- BUSITALIA Campania n. 4 from Salerno
- BUSITALIA Campania n. 50 express coach from Salerno (by motorway)
- Motorway A3 Napoli-Salerno (exit Pompeii ovest)
Guided tours can be requested at the entrances to the site of Pompeii at Piazza Esedra and Porta Marina between 9.00 am and 3.00 pm.
The Archaeological Park of Pompeii is one of the most fascinating places to visit in Italy and is a must-see for anyone interested in the history of the ancient world. With its stunning ruins and rich history, it is a living testament to the power of the Roman Empire.