Pompeii, Italy
photo by S J Pinkney


Where is Pompeii? Pompeii is in the Italian region of Campania, near Naples. Pompeii is close to the Bay of Naples. Other places in the area to visit are Capri and Sorrento.

Romans took control of Pompeii around 200 BC. On August 24, 79 AD, the volcano Vesuvius erupted, buried the nearby town Pompeii in ash and soot, killing 20000 people, and preserving the city in its state from that fateful day. Pompeii is an excavation site and outdoor museum of the ancient Roman settlement. This site is considered to be one of the few sites where an ancient city has been preserved in detail - everything from jars and tables to paintings and people were frozen in time, yielding an unprecedented opportunity to see how the people lived two thousand years ago.


Tickets are €11 per adult (no reductions, unless you are under 26 AND an EU citizen and can prove it). €20 five-site pass (including Pompeii and Herculaneum, valid for 3 days). Sites are free or half-price with the "Campaina ArteCard" . The site is open daily from 8:30 to 19:30 (November to March from 8:30 to 17:00). Telephone: 081-857-5347 and the last ticket is sold 90 minutes before closing.

For transport tickets read about the unified public transport ticket Campania Unico

Getting there

By train

On the Circumvesuviana Napoli-Sorrento line it takes 30 to 40 minutes to get to Pompeii from either Naples or Sorrento. Click on the station where you want to get the train in this timetable . It should cost €1,80 to €3,20. Get off at "Pompei Scavi". At the station, you can leave your bags for €1,50 (collect by 7:00PM in summer, 6:00PM October to February), or leave them for free at the ruins (pick up by 7:20PM). The entrance to Pompeii is about 50m away from the station and there's a Tourist Information office further down the street. If you get off at "Pompei Sanctuario," instead of "Pompei Scavi," the walk through town is not very far; it's tiring but worthwhile.

By bus

SITA runs buses from Naples. The cost is the same as the train.

By boat

If you are on a cruise, you can set up an excursion to explore the ruins (bus transfer) and tickets and tour will be included. From the cruise boat a hydrofoil travels around the Bay of Naples to Capri, Sorrento and Pompeii (from Naples). A bus-shuttle will take you to the ruins where there is much to see.

Traveling around

  • This is a walking site only. Note that the old roman stone roads can be quite exhausting to walk, especially in the heat of summer with loads of fellow tourists about. Everyone will be walking on cobblestones and uneven ground. The temperature is between 70 and 80’s in the summer. Make sure to take plenty of water and watch your step as the old roads have grooves in them where the carts ran. It is advisable to wear good footwear, sunscreen and hats. There is a lot to look at and it will probably take all day to see everything, so plan a day trip. Bring a camera to get great pictures of the city.


Pompeii is a great place to go, rich in historical value.

  • House of the Vettii Rich merchants home

  • House of the Faun Another large house

  • Forum The Public marketplace

  • Theater Theater built in the hollow of a hill for acoustics, seated 5,000

  • Via dei Sepolcri Long street with worn ruts from carts

  • Lupanar An ancient brothel with pornographic frescoes

  • The Temple of Vaspain An altar at the center

  • The BasilicaThe most important building and served as the court house

  • StorageArtifacts like pots and people who did not escape the eruption

Take notice when walking around

  • Ground You will see in the ground there are small tiles called cateyes. The moon’s light or candle light reflects off these tiles and gave light, so people could see where they were walking at night.

  • Bars and Bakeries You will walk past where their bars and bakeries once existed. The bars had counters with three to four holes in them. They have water or other beverages available in the holes. The bakeries’ ovens look similar to the old brick stone oven.

  • Street There are tracks for the carriages in the street for a smoother ride. There are also stone blocks in the street for pedestrians to step onto to cross the street. The sidewalks are higher than the modern sidewalk because the streets had water and waste flowing through them. The stone blocks in the street were also as high as the sidewalk, so people did not walk in the waste and water. The stone blocks were also used for what we now call speed bumps. When the carriages were going through the city, they were going fast. To avoid people from getting splashed by the water and waste they had stone blocks in the street. This would make the driver slow down when they were speeding, so they could get through the blocks.

Outside of the city walls:

  • Villa dei Misteri (Villa of the Mysteries) A house with curious frescoes, perhaps of women being initiated into the Cult of Dionysus. Contains one of the finest fresco cycles in Italy, as well as humorous ancient graffiti.

  • Cameo Factory Here is a cameo factory-where you can buy handcraft jewelry and souvenirs

Things to do

  • Visit also the National Museum in Naples where most of the best preserved mosaics and found items from Pompeii are kept.

  • Visit also the sister site Herculaneum, which is only one Circumvesuviana stop apart and suffered a similar fate to Pompeii. Though it is a smaller site it was covered by a pyroclastic surge (instead of the ash and lapilli that covered Pompeii). This allowed some second storeys to survive.

  • Have a look at random villas, as sometimes even small side rooms have amazing frescoes (wall paintings).

  • Don't miss the "Garden of the Fugitives" at the south-east side where plaster casts of several victims (sadly, including children) are on display where they originally fell The plants in this garden have been reconstructed to match ancient growth, based on the study of plaster casts of plant roots.

  • Walk outside the City Gates to the Villa of the Mysteries, one of the greatest houses to come down to us from the ancient world. Even on a very hot day, it is worth the walk.

  • Ask one of the Archaeologists working on one of the many sites "Hasn't it all been dug?" (there is still 1/3 of the site unexcavated... and there is always more under the floor!)


  • On the way from the station to the official entrance loads of shops try to sell stuff for very expensive prices but the food is not outstanding. Drinks, especially the freshly pressed orange and lemon juices, however, are fantastic especially in the heat, though slightly pricey (€ 3.00 for a glass)

  • You can get a very good panino from some of the stands. The one at the end near the Porta Marina has fantastic ones.

  • There is a restaurant in the museum area. Not surprisingly, this is rather expensive and not very good. Nonetheless, it is an OK place to take a break and recuperate, particularly with its air conditioning (note that as of May 2009 that food can not be purchased within the site).

  • Home of the Napoli Pizza! Eat pizza in Naples which is known to be the best pizza made


  • Remember to bring enough water to drink as it gets quite hot in the dusty streets. There are water taps and some of them work so remember to keep your empty bottles for refilling.

  • Lemon and Orange granita bought from outside the site are a tasty way to cool down.


  • Hotel Maiuri In an enviable position, a few minutes walk from the Pompeii excavations and the center of town, Hotel Maiuri is one of the most accommodating 4 star hotels of Pompeii. Hotel maiuri offers to its guests free parking a short walk from the excavations of Pompeii.

  • B&B La Corte This aristocratic b&b is in the heart of the historical little town of Sant'Antimo, 10 km. from Naples(Napoli), 15 km.from Caserta and 20 km from Pompei and Herculaneum with the motorway. It was built in the 1600's, it's grouped around a large courtyard paved in stones from Vesuvius. In the middle, a magnificent palm.


  • A decent map of the site, or you will get lost in the small roads and need to walk back and forth which is quite exhausting. Free maps and info booklets are given away at the entrance (in several different languages). Visitors need to request them from the Info booth beside the ticket windows.

  • Interesting plastic "past & present" books sold for €12 by vendors. Deal with them for an even better price

  • Audioguides are available for €6,50, €10 for two, ID required

  • Tour guides cluster near the entrance for hire

  • Buy a tour guide book for €5, so you can read more about the interesting city history, building and artifacts. There is so much to learn from the Romans and to see how they lived.


Keep in mind that Mt Vesuvius is an active volcano and can erupt at any time. Scientists have devised a system to detect impending eruptions, though, so feel free to browse Pompeii's ruins without fear of falling ash and lapilli (pumice)! Though it's more likely that you should be trying to protect yourself from pickpockets, the site attracts a huge array of international visitors every day, and this money attracts some thieves, so keep your valuables protected, particularly around Naples and the train stations as you normally would when travelling.

If you come in your own car, be aware not to park at the parking place near the entrance to the archeological site. It is a tourist trap(as of 2006)! Though there is no price displayed at the entrance of the parking, you'll be suprised when finding out that it costs 2€ per hour when trying to leave, and you cannot leave unless you pay. This means that if your visit to Pompeii lasts a whole day(which a site like this certainly deserves) you may end up paying as much as 20 € or more. There are much cheaper parking places just few hundred meters down the hill in the town, for few euros per whole day(again as of 2006).

Get out

  • Go by train to Naples

  • Visit the neighboring site of Herculaneum

  • Head over to the underwater Archaeological Park of Baiae

  • Go to the Amalfi Coast

  • Take a boat from Naples or Sorrento to the island of Capri

  • Buses leave for Mt. Vesuvius from the site (8/day, every half hour 9:30-10:30 and every hour starting at 11:25, takes 1 hour

  • Take a bus back to the water shuttle that takes you to the dock where your cruise ship is waiting

Contact & location

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The photos displayed on this page are the property of one of the following authors:

S J Pinkney, Lyn Gateley, Laura Padgett, Tyler Bell

Some photos courtesy of: . The photos provided by Flickr are under the copyright of their owners.

This travel guide also includes text from Wikitravel articles, all available at WikitravelView full credits

Cardboardbird, Caroline, Marius Mollersen, Oliver Buchino, Ryan Holliday, Jo, Matthew Mckay, Niels Elgaard Larsen, Colin Jensen and Sininen, Inas, Texugo, Episteme, Italy, InterLangBot and Ssalomons

This travel guide also includes text from Wikipedia articles, all available at WikipediaView full credits

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