Archaeological Park of Pompeii

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Pompeii Archaeological Park is the original place where Mt. Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79, killing thousands of people and burying Pompeii in several feet of ashes.

As you travel down the ancient Roman roads, you can’t help but reflect on the people who formerly lived there. 

This flourishing metropolis has been frozen in time, and you may experience it when you visit.

The site has been extensively excavated since the 18th century, with ongoing research and conservation efforts. 

New discoveries continue to be made that expand our understanding of ancient Roman civilization.

Here’s what to expect when you visit Pompeii, what you should know, and what to see at Pompeii Archeological Park.

Plan Your Visit to Pompeii Archaeological Park

Below are some things you need to know before planning your visit to the archaeological park of Pompeii:

Where is the Archaeological Park of Pompeii located?

Pompeii Archaeological Site Address: 80045 Pompei, Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy

Pompeii archaeological site map

Pompeii Archaeological Park Opening Hours

The archeological park is open all year except for significant holidays like New Year’s, May Day, and Christmas. 

During the summer (April through October), the park is open from 9 am to 6 pm and closes at 6 p.m., but visitors can stay until 7.30 pm. 

During the winter, the park is open from 9 am to 3.30 pm, when the ticket office shuts, and visitors are allowed until 5 pm.

If feasible, schedule your visit for the winter, when the park is far less crowded than in the summer. 

Similarly, arriving at the park early, just as it opens, is better.

Pompeii Park Ticket Price

The admission fee is roughly €16 per adult, with reduced tickets available for EU nationals aged 18 to 24. 

Children under 18 can enter the park for free but must provide their own ticket. 

Tickets can be purchased on-site at the ticket office or in advance online. 

Most online tickets will still need to be swapped on-site, using dedicated quick lanes near the entry. 

Note: The Archaeological Park of Pompeii is free to enter on the first Sunday of each month.

How big is the Archaeological Park of Pompeii?

The Archaeological Park of Pompeii covers an area of 64 to 67 hectares, making it an expansive site that provides a complete picture of an ancient Roman city. 

This vast expanse contrasts with the smaller but better-preserved remains of the nearby Herculaneum.

It also showcases the commercial town of Pompeii in all its historical richness and complexity. 

As a result, most guests wind up spending more time at Pompeii than they originally planned. 

Numerous landmarks exist, given how well the city was maintained under the volcanic ash. 

We recommend spending at least five hours touring the park, which is truly the minimum.

Tips to Visit Pompeii Archaeological Park

Most people visit Pompeii during the summer, but it can get very hot (30°C or 85°F from June to August), so dress appropriately and wear plenty of sunscreen. 

Staying hydrated is also crucial, so bring your own water bottle and fill it up at the on-site water taps. 

History of the Archaeological Site of Pompeii

History of the Archaeological Site of Pompeii
Image: Timesofisrael.com

While the eruption is what comes to mind when you think about Pompeii, the town has a long history that predates the volcanic disaster. 

Pompeii is nearly 2500 years old and still has much to learn.

The Oscans founded this town in the seventh century BC, and it was located at an important crossroads between the Greek towns of Cumae, Nola, and Stabiea. 

Thus began the war for this strategically located town, which served as a major center for the surrounding communities. 

It wasn’t until 80 B.C. that it became a Roman colony.

While many people associate Pompeii with the eruption of Vesuvius, this was not the only difficulty that the city’s inhabitants faced. 

A mere 17 years before the eruption, a massive earthquake tested the city’s foundations. 

While it appeared to be a major tragedy at the time, others may argue that it was a blessing in disguise

This is because the vast majority of the city’s 20,000 residents evacuated

Even though it was nearly two decades before the eruption took place, families had established their lives in the numerous nearby villages. 

This meant that only 2000 people died as a result of Vesuvius, and they unintentionally became part of Roman history.

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Pompeii Archaeological Site and Excavations

Pompeii Archaeological Site and Excavations
Image: Britannica.com

The archaeological digs in Pompeii demonstrate both the city’s grandeur and the tragedy that befell it. 

The first formal Pompeii excavations began in 1748 under the direction of Charles of Bourbon, the King of Naples. 

His primary interest was in discovering artifacts and works of art, which led to the removal of numerous items from their original environment. 

Unfortunately, many early excavations damaged portions of the historic city. 

However, recent archaeological excavations have focused on preserving the city’s integrity.

The excavation was first approached methodically and systematically only in the late nineteenth century, under the guidance of Giuseppe Fiorelli.

Fiorelli began the casting process by filling gaps in the ash layers that had previously held biological material, such as wooden doors and human bodies. 

This clever technology portrays the last moments of Pompeii’s residents in breathtakingly vivid detail.

Even now, a large chunk of Pompeii remains unexcavated, preserving potential future discoveries.

Modern technology, including drones and 3D mapping, is being used to study Pompeii better, indicating a future of ongoing discovery and learning. 

Remember, online tickets are available and highly encouraged for those who want to see the ongoing adventure of discovery at this ancient archaeological treasure.

Archaeological Site Today

The People of Pompeii
Image: Slate.com

Pompeii is the longest continuously excavated site yet discovered. 

It remains a mystery in certain sections, with a third of the city remaining underground. 

Archaeologists continue to look for new discoveries while already discovered areas are exposed to visitors.

The People of Pompeii

The most devastating discovery is the preserved bodies of Pompeii’s 2000 victims. 

Although their physical bodies were destroyed or degraded over time, their bones remained intact, preserving the bad aspects of each body. 

There are numerous plaster casts of the bodies on exhibit, with ideas about each body’s previous existence.

The Buildings

Temples, stores, cafes, bathhouses, and dwellings have all been discovered throughout the city. 

One of the most significant discoveries was the city’s amphitheater, which was large enough to accommodate 2000 people easily. 

The structures depict Pompeii’s extraordinary history, including wealth, class division, and daily habits of the city’s inhabitants.

The Art

Despite the loss of many significant treasures, a large percentage of art remains within the city’s walls. 

With surviving frescoes, sculptures, bowls, jewelry, and even antique graffiti. 

One of the most popular parts of the city is the conserved frescoes and mosaics, which can be found throughout. 

With vibrant colors that have not faded with age, these illustrations depict mythologies, eroticism, religion, sports, and war.

The Unique Objects

Some finds have made archaeologists’ jaws drop. Strange objects serve as a frightening reminder of Pompeii’s fascinating and sophisticated past. 

The Cave Canem mosaic, exhibited on a home’s outer wall, translates as ‘beware of the dog’ in Latin. 

This is only one of the dog signs seen across the area; it’s strange to see something from ancient times! 

Another intriguing discovery was that of a giraffe bone. 

It is the only giraffe bone discovered in Roman Italy, demonstrating Pompeii’s fondness for exotic meals.

Pompeii attracts thousands of visitors worldwide each year, making it a must-see location during your vacation in southern Italy. 

Step back in time and see the world of this ancient Roman city.

Top Sites to See in Pompeii Archaeological Park 

Top Sites to See in Pompeii Archaeological Park 
Image: Commons.wikimedia.org
  • Garden of the Fugitives (I- 16)
  • Amphitheater (II – 5) 
  • Praedia of Giulia Felice (II – 3) 
  • House of the Faun (VI – 1) 
  • Villa of the Mysteries (VI – 19) 
  • Basilica (VIII – 2) 
  • Forum (VII – 6a)
  • Forum Granary (VII – 7)
  • Temple of Jupiter (VII – 8)
  • Lupanar (VII – 18)
  • Sanctuary of Venus (VIII – 1)
  • Large Theater and Odeon (VIII – 10) Pompeii’s two theaters are located in the same city area

Visiting Pompeii Park with Children

The ancient Roman roadways that intersect Pompeii are not wheel-friendly, making it difficult to navigate the remains with a stroller or buggy. 

Wheelchair users can utilize the free map supplied at the gate to follow a specially marked route, and strollers can take the same route. 

Regardless, the ideal approach to visiting with infants and young children is to bring a carrier or backpack. 

There are several Baby Points throughout the archeological park, which are little huts highlighted on the map. 

You can get keys at the park’s entry and use these areas to change and feed your baby in total solitude.

FAQs

1. Is Pompeii still an active archaeological site?

2. Why is the archaeological site of Pompeii so important?

3. What are the Pompeii Archaeological site’s opening hours?

4. What is the best time to visit the archaeological site of Pompeii?

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