Seeing Pompei is one of those things that I’ve been wanting to do since.. well, almost as long as I can remember! The idea of a 2000 year old city preserved for your walking entertainment just spoke to me. If you have any interest in history it’s like going to Disney World (or was that just me..). Only thing that would have topped it would have been if they had dressed up some actors and had them perform everyday tasks around the city – how awesome would it be to visit an actual, real ancient city and see its (pretend) inhabitants trading, commuting, joking, eating and relaxing? I’d have loved it – I actually half expected to see toga wearing people anytime I rounded a corner, because my imagination had just raced way ahead of me in those surroundings.
My walk through Pompei started with going through Amfiteatro Piccolo (the small amphi theatre), and then a stroll up to the Foro. From there I simply walked down any street I could get to. At the time you couldn’t actually see the whole city as there were quite a few streets that were closed off.
The Pompeiians really knew how to make their floors pretty!
The stepping stones you see are so that people didn’t have to step into the street, which could be filled with waste.
Pompei is a very large place. I spent about 4 hours in there – the last hour I was actually trying to find the exit, and kept finding new unexplored places I just had to check out. Not buying a map was definitely not my smartest move. I mean, I didn’t mind spending so much time in there, but I know I didn’t see all the things I could have seen, because I didn’t know they were there or where they were.
I very much liked the beautiful statues that were scattered all over the complex. I thought they set the mood in a way. This was from the inside of the old Basilica at the Foro.
And this was a lookout point I stumbled upon – pure luck due to the ‘no map’ situation.
There were so many guided tours around so it was actually hard to avoid overhearing what the guides had to say. I learned that there were grooves in the cobbled streets for wheeled carriages, and that any carriage would have to be built so they would fit into those grooves.
Word of advice: wear good shoes when you visit Pompei, as the streets are beautiful but hard to walk.
If you see a long queue down a corner to a two-storied house, you’ve found the Lupanare. This is the ‘menu’; it’s a brothel.
I was absolutely floored with admiration when I finally found the houses with coloured walls. The rich houses.
Look at the floors! Look at the details! *Swooning* This is 2000 years old!
I never reached a house called Villa Misteria, which has frescos like this but on an even grander scale. Why didn’t I bring a map?!
Writings on the wall, with glass protection. I was absolutely smitten with Pompei, and it was easily one of my favourite things from the two weeks I spent in Italy. If you have any kind of interest in history I urge you to go and have a look for yourself.
It is not expensive (13 Euro), there’s transport right to the door (the Vesuviana train from Naples, or if you’re going from Salerno stop in Pompei and take the 3 Euro taxi to the entry if you don’t want to walk the 2 km out there), there’s a free luggage deposit and a nice although expensive restaurant just off Foro.
Before going to Pompei, I woke up to a view like this.
I had slept in an Airbnb called Salerno in Alto Mare which I really want to recommend. It was cheap, and with a very nice room with private bathroom and balcony. The owner was super helpful, I had some trouble finding the place and he was down half a minute after I called to get me up to the apartment. Tip – it’s next to the Stella Maris pizzeria!
I find it funny how certain countries seem to be particularly popular with certain populations – when I was in New Zealand we met Germans absolutely everywhere, and the Germans themselves were slightly confused as to how they could have traveled all the way to New Zealand and still be speaking German whenever they met new people. In Italy, it was Americans. I swear I heard the American accent almost as often as I heard the Italian language. In the Salerno Airbnb I met a retired couple from Seattle who had been traveling for a couple of weeks across Europe, and I had a memorable morning talking with this sweet old American guy and eating delicious freshly cooked breakfast. I would go back in a heartbeat.
Have you been to Pompei? What did you think? Comment below.
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