Pompeii is in Campania, Italy, not far from Naples. Its major attraction is the ruined ancient Roman city of the same name, which was engulfed by Mt.

18 things to do

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There are several baths to be inspected. The ''Forum Baths'' are just north of the forum and close to the restaurant. They are well-preserved and roofed. Be careful not to miss them as the entranceway is a long passage with no indication of the delights inside. The ''Central Baths'' occupy a much larger area but are less well-preserved. Close to these are the Stabian baths which have some interesting decorations and give a good idea of how baths used to function in Roman times.

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This is in the most easterly corner of the excavated area, near the Sarno Gate entrance. It was completed in 80BC, measures 135 x 104 metres and could hold about 20,000 people. It is the earliest surviving permanent amphitheatre in Italy and one of the best preserved anywhere. It was used for gladiator battles, other sports and spectacles involving wild animals.

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House of the Vettii

This is believed to have been the home of two brothers who were freed slaves and became very affluent. It contains many frescoes. In the vestibule there is a striking fresco of a well-endowed ''Priapus'', God of Fertility and among the frescos in other parts of the building are illustrations of couples making love, of cupids and of mythological characters.

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A church which is a place of pilgrimage for Roman Catholics. For others, it is not a must-see, but should you arrive or leave via the Pompei Santuario station on the Circumvesuviana, rather than Pompei Scavi, you may find it worth at least a brief look inside at this place of veneration of the Virgin Mary.

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Forum Granary

Artifacts like amphorae (storage jars) and plaster casts of people who did not escape the eruption are stored in this building, which was designed to be the public market but may not have been finished before the eruption.

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Temple of Apollo

This is to the north of the Basilica on the western side of the Forum. It has the oldest remains discovered, with some, including Etruscan items, dating back to 575BC, although the layout we see now was later than that.

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An ancient brothel with pornographic frescoes over the entrance to each room, presumably indicating the services on offer. Even allowing for the smaller size of ancient Romans the beds seem rather small.

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Great Palaestra

This occupies a large area opposite the Amphitheatre. The central area was used for sporting activities and there was a pool in the middle. On three sides are lengthy internal porticos or colonnades.

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House of the Faun

This is named after a statue of a dancing faun found on the site. It is considered to be an excellent example of the fusion of Italian and Greek architectural styles, and occupies an entire block.

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This was the center of public life, although it is now to the southwest of the excavated area. It was surrounded by many of the important government, religious and business buildings.

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Villa dei Misteri

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.

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This is to the west of the Forum. It was the most important public building of the city where both justice was administered and trade was carried on.

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House of the Tragic Poet

This small atrium house is best known for the mosaic at the entrance depicting a chained dog, with the words ''Cave Canem'' or "Beware of the Dog".

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Hotel Forum

A quiet and comfortable hotel set back from the road. Good breakfast. Free parking close to the hotel.

SLEEP   —  +39 081 850 11 70 —  Via Roma 99


Theatre built in the hollow of a hill for acoustic advantage; it seated 5,000.

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Hotel Maiuri

A few minutes walk from the excavations and the centre of town. Free parking.

SLEEP   —  Via Acquasalsa, 20

House of the Ancient Hunt

Attractive, open-style house with many frescoes of hunting scenes.

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Via dei Sepolcri

A long street with worn ruts from carts.

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About Pompeii

Romans took control of Pompeii around 200 BC. On August 24, 79 AD, Vesuvius erupted, burying the nearby town of Pompeii in ash and soot, killing 20,000 people, and preserving the city in its state from that fateful day. Pompeii is an excavation (It: scavi) 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 was frozen in time, yielding, together with neighbouring Herculaneum which suffered the same fate, an unprecedented opportunity to see how the people lived two thousand years ago.

Source: wikivoyage