All rights reserved. When Mount Vesuvius erupted cataclysmically in the summer of A. The ruined city remained frozen in time until it was discovered by a surveying engineer in On a fateful summer morning in A. The darkness Pliny described drew the final curtain on an era in Pompeii. But the disaster also preserved a slice of Roman life.
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The buildings, art, artifacts, and bodies forever frozen offer a unique window on the ancient world. Since its rediscovery in the midth century, the site has hosted a tireless succession of treasure hunters and archaeologists. For early archaeologists, the disaster of the city's final days was the primary draw, unearthing buildings and streets as they stood at the time of the eruption.
Ellis's team is particularly interested in a corner of the city near the Porta Stabia gate that is a bit off the beaten archaeological path. When they first cleared it of debris in the s, they left this block for ruin because it had no large villas and it was covered over with a terrible jungle of vegetation," he says.
Much research has centered on public buildings and breathtaking villas that portray the artistic and opulent lifestyle enjoyed by the city's wealthy elite.
Visiting Pompeii Italy with Kids: What Not to Do
But while his quest is knowledge of the living Pompeii, Stanford University's Gary Devore , the project's co-director, notes that the eruption still resonates because of the intimate connection it created between past and present. However, there are some things you need to know before you go. After visiting twice, here are a few things we learned about how NOT to do Pompeii. Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you want a private guide of Pompeii, it is best to arrange this in advance. Since we had a decent experience years ago, we went this route and unfortunately, the only guy around was someone who caused me concern from the start but after getting another couple to share the cost with us, we thought it was better than nothing.
I was wrong. If you are feeling really ambitious, you can even take a tour up Mount Vesuvius.
Pompeii - Wikipedia
While our guide did point out a few interesting facts, like that Pompeii had actually been covered up by ash and rock a few times before the more infamous Vesuvius explosion some people never learn? He did like to point out over and over how the sewer system worked, which was a great feat of engineering. Brothels are a big attraction on tours. He obliged, but then preceded to point out the graphic signposts that mark the path, should we wish to explore on our own after.
What did I say about choosing a good guide? Needless to say, that raised a few questions. There is very little shade in Pompeii and the sun reflecting off all that stone can be brutal on a hot day. Your best bet is to go in the early morning or late afternoon.
Of course, if you are traveling out of Rome, it is a two and a half-hour drive, so avoiding mid-morning can be tough unless you stop off in Naples. Inside the bathhouse you can still see the lockers and the detail of the ceiling. Pompeii was a large city and if you climb up high, you will see that so much of it is still unexcavated.
What Was Pompeii?
Try to pick out a few main sights, like some of the wealthy merchant houses, the public baths, the plaster casts, the forum, and the amphitheater. When we exited the scavi or archeological site , we were hot, tired and hungry. We knew enough to avoid the small snack bars right outside the gate and thought we made a major find at Bacco e Arianna right up the hill.
While the courtyard dining was lovely and shaded, and the food was delicious, these guys are excellent marketers. We forgot to ask the market price of the fish so we did a double take when the bill came.
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Not only was it one of our most expensive meals in Italy, he also only took cash. The food was great but it came at a high price.
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Especially since we used all our cash to pay the bill, leaving us short and unable to hire a porter when we got to Positano. Which meant we had to carry our bags, and our leftover fish because at that price we were taking it with us , down steps to our apartment rental. We actually got this one right, but only because we had experience. The ruins of Pompeii are dry and dusty and you will be walking over uneven cobblestone streets. I highly recommend closed toe shoes or at least a good, sturdy walking sandal.
The app offers a map, guided paths based on time or itinerary, descriptions and an audio tour for all the main buildings, the story of Pompeii and even augmented reality to show you what things used to look like. And read the complete guide to visiting Pompeii here.
I also loved our meal afterwords. We went to Italy in September last year and were hoping to make it down to Pompeii — but the kids then 2. We will have to make a return trip. I love your story about the fish…I would have been taking that to-go as well!