Pompeii Archaeological Site
One of the most captivating archaeological sites in the world, Pompeii is a city frozen in time. The ancient Roman metropolis was sealed under a layer of volcanic stone by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79, which preserved it for millennia. Today, you can explore the ghostly ruins, including temples, baths, villas, and shops.
Pompeii may be a stark reminder of the destructive power of volcanoes, but it’s also a virtual photograph of daily life more than 2,000 years ago. From the grooves worn into the streets by passing carriages to the soaring temples in the Forum, from the humble food stalls to the villas decorated with frescoes and mosaics—there’s no site that offers a more engrossing experience of life in an ancient Roman city than Pompeii.
Visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site with a guide is vital, as the ruins can be hard for the untrained eye to interpret. Join a private or small-group walking tour that includes skip-the-line tickets. Or, opt for a tour that pairs a visit to Pompeii with a stop at nearby Herculaneum. Other popular day tours combine Pompeii with Sorrento and Positano on the Amalfi Coast or with a jaunt to the top of Mt. Vesuvius.
Things to Know Before You Go
Pompeii is a must for archaeology buffs, but interesting for other travelers as well.
Kids will enjoy exploring with a guide who knows how to make the site compelling to younger travelers.
Almost all of the ruins are outdoors, so dress appropriately for the weather.
Some areas of the site are accessible to wheelchairs.
New portions of the site are excavated and opened to the public each year.
How to Get There
Located at the foot of Mt. Vesuvius just south of Naples, Pompeii is easiest to get to on a day tour from Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast, Capri, Naples, or Rome.
When to Get There
Pompeii is open every day. As the site is almost entirely outdoors, avoid visiting during summer’s scorching midday. Time your tour for early morning or late afternoon, or go in spring or fall.
Pompeii wasn’t the only city buried by the volcanic fallout from Mt. Vesuvius. The nearby town of Herculaneum was also destroyed, but rather than being buried in burning stone like Pompeii, Herculaneum was sealed in a layer of volcanic ash and mud. Therefore, in Herculaneum, unlike in Pompeii, 2-story buildings, wooden furniture, and even food in household kitchens was preserved. Ideally, choose a tour that visits both Pompeii and Herculaneum.
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