Italy
Pompei

Here you’ll find travel reports about Pompei. Discover travel destinations in Italy of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

47 travelers at this place:

  • Day2

    Pompeii

    May 2 in Italy

    After a good night with only small need for ear plugs, we set off for Garibaldi Station to catch the train to Pompeii. We caught the 10.07 and enjoyed coastal views. Arriving at Pompeii we took the shuttle to the archaeological site. After €5 a cup Cafes we entered the old ruined city and were blown away by the scale, not only of the size of the whole site but the scale of the buildings and state of preservation. The whole place was truly amazing.
    We entered by the teatro which also housed the gladiators accommodation, the teatro had a roof originally to improve acoustics. There is roman grafitti in the plaster walls as you leave. Then we were on to well-worn Roman streets on a neat grid system, the surface made of large fitted stones of lava and you could also see tracks worn by carts and there are stepping stone to aid pedestrian crossing. There are countless grand villas, with entrances ways decorated with mosaics, atria with pool beneath, tables, beautiful decorated walls and gardens to the rear. There is a laundry and several fast-food outlets. A vineyard, orchard and huge enclosed training ground. At the far end is the 20,000 seat amfiteatro, the first ever and half sunk in the ground, so you go down through a tunnel to enter.
    Lunch was of local cheeses and salad on stone seats. Then we crossed the city towards the Forum and central temples. The city was famously enveloped by pyroclastic ash and gas cloud in 79 AD. This killed the occupants who were taken by surprise, and buried buildings for nearly 2,000 years, preserving many things as they were.
    The scale and sophistication defy description.
    Our journey back was by the Cicumvesuvium line, which was much more crowded and basic than going. Quick supermarket sweep and we dined on chicken and chips with local Fiano and Malvasia Nera wine.
    The day was not done as we found a small bar for post dinner drinks, grappa, beer and watery carafe of wine. Liverpool just scraped past Roma into the final of the Champions League.
    The locals outside the bar opposite get louder as the evening progressed and were still going strong at 3am, making the ear plugs provided an essential.
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  • Day29

    Getting to Pompei

    September 24, 2017 in Italy

    Up early for the train from Termini to Tiburtina, transfer to the bus station and on the bus. This was a sentence written without much turmoil. On the day however, everything was pretty easy until we got to the bus station, only to be met with chaos. It was bound to happen since I am sure I had only uttered the day before that the train and bus network in France and Italy had worked like clockwork, down to the minute just about. We arrived at the bus station at least an hour ahead of schedule, where there was absolutely no indication of what to do next. A line of angry people were lined up at the "ticket office" (although perhaps they were not angry, just speaking in dramatic Italian). One guy did dare to queue jump, at which time there was a bit of anger directed at him - that much can be deduced without the need to understand the language.

    It would appear the board which told you which platform you had to go to was broken, and with only one girl working the counter (despite another man standing around behind her doing what looked like "nothing"), she didn't really care to help people. To be fair, she may have just been sick of being yelled at about the broken billboard despite it only being 7.30am.

    So the only way to know which bus you had to get on, was to stand around, wait for one of your bus company's buses to pull in, rush to the bay to see if that was yours, and bravo if it was. So, that is exactly what we did. Bit of a trial run for tomorrow because we are going to be back here to catch the same bus company to Siena.

    The bus journey was great and we drove past Vesuvius and through Naples. That was an eye-opener! Imagine scouting for a post-apocalyptic movie location - do yourself a favour and go to Naples - will save heaps of time! Graffiti, overgrown, run-down, neglected, slums, rubbish everywhere, mafia-controlled, barely habitable...
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  • Day29

    Pompei

    September 24, 2017 in Italy

    For a world-famous archaeological site, there was little by way of signage or information about how to actually get into the place if you arrive by bus. Even Google maps seemed strangely silent and eventually misleading on the matter. We did eventually find our way to the main gate, after stopping in a great restaurant for the best valued pizza.

    Pompei itself was gigantic and we had a bit of fun trying to interpret the maps with minimal information provided that didn't match up with most of the signage. The kids enjoyed themselves, and it was quite different to what I expected.Read more

  • Day62

    Go to a small town as far away from Naples as possible but where you are still able to visit Pompeii and Herculaneum. I shall not start on how I do not have a liking for Naples. I will, however, tell you about how I loved Pompeii.

    Pompeii is situated 7km from the volcano Mount Vesuvius. In 62AD a devastating earthquake severely damaged Pompeii, with some of the devastation still present today. The town busied themselves for the next 17 years rebuilding their homes, shops, palaces and temples. Unbeknownst to them, on August 24 at 1pm Mount Vesuvius was to erupt and that would be the death of almost all villagers in Pompeii and Herculaneum. Destroying the village where they had all worked so hard to rebuild.

    Our guide, Alex, guided us through what Mt Vesuvius, decided to leave behind for us to wander through and I was just shocked. I was able to see exactly how the Vesuvians lived, what their houses, palaces, shops, city centres, restaurant and fast food joins and piazzas looked like as well as the brothel and what food they ate almost 1950 years ago.

    One thing amongst many that amazed me about Pompeii was the graffiti. Don’t worry, it’s not modern graffiti like we know but ancient scratchings, which is the Latin translation of graffiti. During the games held in the amphitheater, children would stay in the street and write and draw (graffiti) stories on the street walls and kerbs. Advertisements for shops, restaurants and political elections were graffitied on the walls of shops, houses, streets and kerb by many villagers and merchants. This gave us a great insight into the daily lives of the people of Pompeii from over 1950 years ago.

    Frescoes and mosaics were still present in some of the houses and palaces as well as some bed and door frames.

    What was most devastating to see was the plaster casts of children, adults and even dogs who suffered through the 600C pyroclastic heat from the eruption. They were stunned in their last movement, last breath. This was more prominent in Herculaneum but I could barely glimpse at it in Pompeii.

    As I neared the end of my visit in Pompeii, 5 and a half hours later, I had a very guilty realisation about the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. If it never erupted and preserved the village of Pompeii, we would be guessing about the life from 2000 years ago. What food they ate, what their homes looked like, how they occupied their time, what tools they used and many more. I am very grateful for that but yet was holding back tears as I discovered more and more about Pompeii.
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  • Day5

    Day 4 - Pompei

    August 14 in Italy

    ‍‍Today our bags were picked up from our room at 7am. I had already headed down to breakfast while John got dressed (we were to meet in the lobby at 7:50 am).  At 7.30, I returned to the room to discover John was getting readyg the flashlight on his phone.  Right after the luggage was picked up, the power to the room was turned off. So I ran downstairs to tell the Front Desk that the power was off and let Florence, our tour director know our situation.  The hotel sent someone up, but he could not resolve the problem. So John finished up in the dark and our group got on the bus.

    Pompei was impressive. To ensure that we could go into some othe more impressive houses that limited group size, our group was divided into two smaller groups.  Our guide was good.  What makes Pompei so impressive is the size of the town.  We spent about 2 hours there.  We ate lunch at a nearby restaurant.  The food was delicious and plentiful (and included wine). I have started taking pictures of the wines I like in hopes I can get them ahen I get home.

    We got to our hotel in Rome around 4:30, but our luggage didn't get to our room for another 30 minutes.  Once we got our luggage, we showered and dressed and met up with the group to walk to the restaurant.  The wine was good, but the service was very slow and many of the meals were not good. We each could choose 3 courses. I chose a pasta (fettuccine with truffles), a beef entree and canoli for dessert.  my dishes were all good.  John was disappointed in his.  He thought the meat was not a very good quality.  one guy at our table, Larry, ordered a pork dish that was all fat.  Then the recommended dessert which was supposed to be a chocolate tort with chocolate sauce and blueberries that almost everyone but me ordered came with no chocolate sauce or berries and was evidently very dry.

    We barely finished our dinner when it was time to head for our little vans to take us on a Rome by Night tour.  14 of us were supposed to go, but a backed out, so only 12 of us went - 8 in one van and 4 in our van. We first went to the Trivoli Fountain. It was still pretty crowded at around 9.30 pm.  Then we drove around the Colossium.  There was no one there.  Our guide, Antonio was very good. He told us a lot of information about Rome as we drove us around.   We also crossed the Tiberius River and saw some of Rome on that side.  Our final stop was St. Peter's Basilica.  The four of us from our van were able to walk around with no one else around and take pictures.  That tour was well worth the extra cost.  When we got back to the hotel at after 11 pm it was time to relax before heading to bed.
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  • Day23

    Pompeii Part I

    May 6, 2016 in Italy

    Warning: Long post ahead!

    This is the highlight of the trip so far, according to Flora. She is a lover of ancient history, especially ones of archaeological nature. We got a tour guide to show us around after numerous advice from people that have visited before. A very wise decision indeed.

    First established in 6-7th century BC, Pompeii was engulfed in a thick layer of ash and lava when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. Pompeii was downwind of the eruption and bore the brunt of the first phase of the eruption. However, what survived the onslaught of debris was preserved very well. We started in the auditoriums in which the Pompeiians would have enjoyed a day of entertainment. Much of the stone seats were preserved.

    It is amazing how much archaeologists have managed to deduce from their findings. As we walked through the streets of Pompeii, the tour guide pointed out the impressions in the stone made by wagon wheels back when Pompeii was an important, bustling city. We touched the bricks and mortar of the city which was more than 2000 years old. Can you imagine touching something that old? These guys sure know how to build things that last.

    The more we looked, the more in awe we were of this ancient civilisation. They have thought of everything: advanced plumbing system, drainage, stepping stones on roads so pedestrians crossing puddles in the road wouldn’t get wet, public baths, public toilets, shops that sold food like modern-day cafeterias, even brothels!

    Shops selling food still had their thermopolium (or counters) intact. These were often clad with different pieces of marble. Over 2000 years ago, the Pompeiians were already making marble benchtops! Some of the thermopolia were so well preserved that the marble was in excellent condition and the earthenware jars (or dolia as they were known) that are embedded in them to keep hot food were still completely intact. Curry, anyone?

    The guide took us to a seedy part of the city where brothels were in abundance. How did one know that a house contained a prostitute? Easy, just look out for the stone penis that hung above the door (no joke!). There is believed to have only been one purpose-built brothel. Lupanare was a two-storey brothel with small, cramped, windowless rooms for entertaining clients. In each room, there was a stone bed where a mattress would have laid to render sexual services. On the walls, there were erotic paintings or frescoes that have been extremely well-preserved. These showed all manners of sexual positions, assumed to be somewhat of a menu of the services offered. There were lots of chuckles when we saw this.

    The public baths cut a very different picture. It was a very large compound, complete with male and female change-rooms. Male and female hot baths were separated. The warm and hot baths were heated by a furnace behind the wall which fed pipes underneath the bath floors. The mosaics and frescoes that remain were astounding.

    Finally, we came to a warehouse where archaeologists have stored all the earthenware, statues and tables uncovered during careful excavations. Amongst the collection, there were some plaster casts of victims of the eruption. In 1864, Giuseppe Fiorelli, the director of excavations, discovered a technique to capture body shapes trapped in volcanic ash after soft tissues had decayed. He instructed his diggers to pour plaster into hollow pockets, let them dry for a few days before chipping away at the volcanic ash to reveal whole plaster cast of victims at the time of their death. CT scans of some of these plaster casts have since revealed near-complete skeletons and full sets of teeth.

    As I look at Mount Vesuvius from the ancient square, I can’t imagine the terror felt by Pompeii’s inhabitants as they watched volcanic ash and lava spewing out of its mouth. It is the only active volcano on the European mainland and it is a matter of time before it erupts again. The last eruption was in 1944 but it was not destructive. There are approximately 3 million people living within the red zone of Vesuvius. With the chaotic traffic in the area, one would hope that the authorities have got a bulletproof (or volcano-proof) evacuation plan.

    There is so much to write about Pompeii, but perhaps it is better told through photos. Flora could have spent days just roaming around this ancient city. If you appreciate ancient history, this city should be on your bucket list.
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  • Day60

    Pompeji und Neapel

    June 23 in Italy

    Wir suchen uns einen Campingplatz direkt in Pompeji und schauen uns, so weit es mit 2 Kindern eben geht, die Ruinen an. Sehr beeindruckend wie gut hier alles durch die Asche konserviert wurde. Teilweise sieht man bei den Wandmalereien noch die Originalfarben.
    Am nächsten Tag fahren wir mit dem Zug nach Neapel. Die mit Abstand wuseligste Stadt die wir bisher gesehen haben. Sehr enge Gassen durch die die Leute mit Rollern und Autos fahren. Überall Menschen, Läden und Pizzerien und auf einmal eine riesige Kathedrale mittendrin.Read more

  • Day7

    Nur eine halbe Stunde von Neapel entfernt liegen zwei UNESCO Weltkulturerbe Stätten. Die Ruinen von Pompeii sowie die von Ercolano (Herculaneum). Pompeii wurde vor etwa 2000 Jahren beim Ausbruch des Vesuvs komplett zerstört, heiße Asche ließ alle Bauten kollabieren und tötete viele Menschen. Ercolano ist zwar viel kleiner, aber dort sind die Gebäude seinerzeit nicht eingestürzt, da dort schichtweise heißer Schlamm die Stadt verschlungen hat. Insofern ist dort weitaus besser zu sehen wie die Häuser damals ausgesehen haben und viele Fresken sind noch erhalten geblieben.
    Ein interessanter Ausflug, aber auch sehr anstrengend und heiß 8 Stunden in den Ruinen rumzuklettern.
    Danach gab es zur Belohnung eine letzte Pizza aus der bekannten Pizzeria da Michele in Napoli. 🍕
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  • Day27

    Pompeii and Herculaneum

    September 15, 2017 in Italy

    Pompeii and Herculaneum
    After an almost an hour trying to sort out things with Alitalia and then early breakfast we were on our way out of the door prior to 8am to walk the 3km down to Sorrento for our day trip to Pompeii and Herculaneum. After a bit of searching we found the Achille Lauro Car Park and were duly greeted by Federica our guide. It was promptly on to the bus and then, following various pick ups, off to Pompeii. This took about an hour and was actually quite an interesting drive. First we wound our way out of Sorrento with some amazing views and a series of interesting switchback and narrow roads, then it was through 3 tunnels (the longest at over 5 km) emerging from the last it was once again like entering another world as we were back in the “slums” of Naples with dirty, rundown, graffitied buildings and a feeling of despair and menace.
    We soon arrived at Pompeii and were issued our headsets so that we could hear the interesting stories that Federica told us about the various parts of the site which is massive (over 170 acres). Originally settled by the Osa people the town was taken over by the Romans and was home to over 12,000 people when it was destroyed in the eruption of Mt Vesuvius in 79AD. Because of the nature of the eruption the town was covered in over 15m of ash and pumice and hence largely preserved, the ash and gases released in the eruptions is what killed virtually all of the inhabitants. We visited only a small proportion of the site in the almost 2 hours we were there -the Gladiator school, the massive forum, 2 of the brothels (including the one with all the erotic frescos. We learned that there were 42 wells in the city (with lead pipes) and a thriving economy. It really was rather interesting.
    Although would have liked to keep exploring the heat and the crowds (they have up to 6000 visitors per day) meant that I was also glad when we headed off to a local restaurant for lunch – this included antipasto, pasta (homemade) with primavera sauce, a glass of wine and lemon gelati to finish – mmmm yummo
    After lunch it was back on the bus and off to Herculaneum. This is a small sight at only about 24 acres, but is quite different to Pompeii as the destruction here was due to a massive mud and lava slide that covered the city and extended the shoreline 15km into the bay of Naples (once Herculaneum had a beach frontage!). It was possible to see carbonised wood remnants at Herculaneum (including a bed, doors and windows) whereas in Pompeii nothing organic remained. Federica took us around the town and showed us the Sailors fornace (store rooms which doubled as brothels), some very fancy villas (Herculaneum was a “summer holiday town” for the rich people of the day), the men’s public baths and the temple of Augustus among many interesting things – there were some amazing mosaics and frescos. Once again it would have been good to be able to stay longer and just explore but it was clearly time to head back to Sorrento and we were ushered back onto the bus for the return trip.
    We got back to Sorrento at about 5pm and decided to have a last minute wander through the shops and stalls of the little narrow lanes near the town centre – we picked up a few more gifts and then found a restaurant for a light tea; fish and salad – just perfect! The owner was an old bloke who told us that he had been in Australia for 8 years from the late 1950’s, then the US for 15 before returning to help his family run restaurants and hotels in Sorrento. After a satisfying meal it was back to the convent to attempt to t our bags and sort out our travel tomorrow
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Pompei, Pompeya, Помпеи

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