What to See at Pompeii: A Guide to Italy’s Fascinating Ancient City

What to See at Pompeii: A Guide to Italy's Fascinating Ancient City
What to See at Pompeii: A Guide to Italy's Fascinating Ancient City

Table of Contents

An enthralling blend of ancient history, authentic Italian culture, and impressive natural beauty, Pompeii is one of the world’s must-see destinations. Frozen in time by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, the city offers a unique insight into Roman life, making it a prime attraction for history enthusiasts and casual visitors alike. In this article, we will explore what to see at Pompeii, from its well-preserved streets and buildings to its remarkable artifacts.

What to See at Pompeii’s: Iconic Ruins

One of the key aspects that sets Pompeii apart is its well-preserved ruins. Walking through the city’s ancient streets, visitors can explore homes, markets, temples, theaters, and even a Roman-style fast food restaurant.

The Forum

The Forum was the heart of Roman Pompeii, functioning as the city’s political, economic, and religious center. Today, visitors can still see the temple ruins, the grand basilica, and the remnants of various public buildings.

The Amphitheater

Pompeii’s Amphitheater is one of the oldest and best-preserved Roman amphitheaters in the world. With a capacity of up to 20,000 people, the amphitheater was used for gladiatorial games and other public spectacles.

The Forum - What to see at Pompeii
The Amphitheater – What to see at Pompeii

The Villa of the Mysteries

Just outside the city walls lies the Villa of the Mysteries, one of the most exquisite residences in Pompeii. The villa is famous for its beautiful frescoes depicting Dionysian rites, which remain remarkably well-preserved.

What to See at Pompeii’s: Art and Artifacts

Beyond its architectural marvels, Pompeii also houses a vast collection of artifacts. Many of these are housed in the on-site Pompeii Antiquarium, which offers a glimpse into the daily lives of the ancient city’s inhabitants.

The Pompeii Antiquarium

Home to a rich collection of artifacts discovered during excavations, the Antiquarium provides a fascinating insight into the life of ancient Pompeii. Highlights include beautifully crafted pottery, intricate mosaics, and even casts of the victims of the eruption.

What to See at Pompeii 1
The Pompeii Antiquarium – What to see at Pompeii

The Plaster Casts

Perhaps the most poignant reminders of Pompeii’s past are the plaster casts of its victims, preserved in their final moments. These casts provide a chilling, yet deeply human, snapshot of the tragic event that sealed the city’s fate.

Pompeii Opening Hours And Tickets

Pompeii welcomes visitors seven days a week. The archaeological site opens at 9 AM and closes at 7 PM, with the last entry allowed at 6 PM. However, the opening hours can vary slightly depending on the season, so it’s recommended to check the official website for the most up-to-date information. As for tickets, the standard adult ticket costs 16 euros.

A discounted rate of 2 euros is available for EU citizens aged between 18 and 25, and entry is free for children and teenagers under 18. Furthermore, teachers and students with a valid ID can also enter for free. Given the popularity of Pompeii, purchasing tickets online in advance is a good idea to avoid potential long lines at the ticket office.

For a more comprehensive experience, guided tours can also be booked, providing expert insight into the rich history of Pompeii.

Key InformationDetails
Opening Hours9 AM – 7 PM (last entry at 6 PM) Note: Hours may vary by season, check the official website for current times.
Standard Adult Ticket16 Euros
EU Citizens (18-25 years)2 Euros
Children and Teenagers (Under 18)Free
Teachers and Students (with valid ID)Free
Advance Ticket PurchaseRecommended to avoid long lines.
Guided ToursAvailable for booking for a more comprehensive experience.

How To Get To Pompeii: Detailed Guide

From Naples

One of the easiest ways to get to Pompeii is from Naples. You can take the Circumvesuviana train which departs from Napoli Garibaldi station. The destination station is Pompeii Scavi – Villa dei Misteri, located conveniently close to the archaeological site. The journey usually takes about 40 minutes, with regular trains operating throughout the day.

From Rome

From Rome, you first need to take a direct train to Naples. This journey typically lasts around 2 hours. Upon arriving in Naples, you can then transfer to the Circumvesuviana train line, following the same route as described above to reach Pompeii.

Guided Tours

Alternatively, for those who prefer a more structured visit, guided day tours are available from both Rome and Naples. These tours often include transportation, tickets, and a guided tour of the archaeological site, offering a hassle-free way to explore Pompeii.

By Car

If you’re driving, Pompeii is accessible via the A3 motorway. However, parking can be a concern, so it’s advisable to check parking options and availability ahead of your visit.

Private Transfer Service

Transfer from Rome to Naples can be a challenging and tiring journey. It can take a minimum of five hours from the moment you land at the airport in Rome to reach the coast, and that’s only if everything runs smoothly.


Once you’ve arrived, whether by train or car, the entrance to the Pompeii ruins is just a short walk away. For the most current information on getting to Pompeii, including any travel advisories, be sure to check the official Pompeii Sites website.

The Intriguing History of Pompeii: A Snapshot of Ancient Roman Life

Pompeii, nestled in Italy’s southern Campania region, was an ancient Roman city that experienced both the heights of prosperity and the depths of disaster.

The city was established in the 7th or 6th century BC by the Oscan people, and was later brought under Roman control in the 4th century BC. Under the Romans, Pompeii blossomed into a thriving city, celebrated for its advanced water system, amphitheater, gymnasium, and bustling port.

However, Pompeii’s thriving narrative took a tragic turn in 79 AD, when the city and its inhabitants were engulfed by the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Buried under a thick blanket of volcanic ash and pumice, the city was lost to time for about 1,500 years until its accidental rediscovery in 1599.

Serious excavations didn’t commence until the 18th century, but once they did, they unearthed a city preserved in remarkable detail.

The sudden nature of the Vesuvius eruption had essentially frozen Pompeii in time, offering a rare and deeply intimate glimpse into Roman life.

Today, Pompeii stands as one of the most compelling testaments to Roman civilization. Its well-preserved ruins serve as an open book, revealing invaluable information about the art, customs, trades, and everyday life of the ancient world.

This UNESCO World Heritage site is now one of Italy’s top tourist attractions, drawing visitors from all corners of the globe who are eager to step back in time and explore Pompeii’s storied past.

7th or 6th Century BCEstablished by the Oscan people.
4th Century BCCame under Roman rule.
79 ADDevastated by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Buried under volcanic ash and pumice.
1599Accidentally rediscovered.
18th CenturySerious excavation of the site started.
1997Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Present DayServes as one of Italy’s most popular tourist attractions, providing insight into the art and life of the past.

Practical Information

Visiting Pompeii is a full-day activity, so plan your trip accordingly. The archaeological site opens at 9 AM and closes at 7 PM, with the last entry at 6 PM.

Tickets for Pompeii cost 16 euros for adults, while EU citizens aged 18 to 25 can enter for 2 euros. Children and teenagers under 18, along with students and teachers with a valid ID, can enter for free.

For those wanting to delve deeper into Pompeii’s history, hiring a guide is highly recommended. Guides can be hired on-site or booked in advance through the official Pompeii Sites website.

In conclusion, Pompeii is a captivating window into the past, providing visitors with a comprehensive view of Roman life. If you’re wondering what to see at Pompeii, rest assured that its iconic ruins, impressive artifacts, and rich history make it a must-visit destination.

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