At the footsteps of Mount Vesuvius, the ancient city of Pompeii sits nearly frozen in time for centuries. A city of legend that was lost for hundreds of years under the ash of a volcanic eruption, and re-discovered in the early 1600s, is now one of the most visited archaeological sites in the world. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997, Pompeii attracts thousands of visitors every year to gaze at its ancient glory and enjoy the surrounding areas of Naples and Rome. Visiting Pompeii is one of the most compelling tour sites that can be had anywhere in the world. Under the volcanic explosion of Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii was literally buried in a blanket of ash that preserved the city exactly as it lay in the year 79 AD. This has made Pompeii tours some of the most fascinating glimpses into Roman history, where you can actually see people preserved in position as they huddled in fear from Mount Vesuvius erupting hot volcanic ash over the entire city.
Bellarome provides Pompeii tours that will astound you about the depth of historical and cultural context of the region. With a guided visit, Bellarome can reveal to you the true story of the rise and fall of the once great city of Pompeii. The Pompeii site is draped under layers of ash that sealed the city in a moment of time, and with expert guided tours, you will feel like you are discovering the ancient site for yourself. Some of the most famous things to do when visiting the archaeological site of Pompeii include:
The amphitheater was built in 80 BC and was large enough to hold up to 20,000 spectators. It is the oldest surviving amphitheater in Italy, and due to the blanket of preserving ash from Mount Vesuvius, one of the best preserved in the world. This was the site of many ancient and bloody gladiator battles.
House of the Vettii
This is the ancient home of two brothers, who were freed from slavery and became affluent members of Pompeii society. The house contains a variety of stunning frescoes that depict gods and other mythological creatures.
The Forum is considered the center of public life in ancient Rome. This was a meeting spot for many Romans and contained many of the important government and religious buildings.
The Lupanar was an ancient brothel that is full of a series of pornographic frescoes that depict what may have been happening within its very walls. Tourist discretion is advised.
The Basilica was the single most important building in all of Pompeii. It was used as a hall of justice, and much of the trade in the city was conducted here, but now, only tourists travel through its empty halls.
All of these locations are beautiful sites that have been locked in time. Bellarome provides tours to all of these places and more, and a tour with us comes with more than just a visit. It comes with a story that reveals the ancient culture and traditions of one of the greatest empires of all time. Our tours take you back in time to when gladiator battles raged, and sweet wine ran freely.
The Modern City of Pompeii
The ancient city of Pompeii is surrounded by the modern city of Pompei, which is part of the larger surrounding areas of Naples. It is relatively small with a population of around 25,000 people and is mostly visited as the gateway to the ruins of the ancient city. The town has all the modern necessities, and a visitor can easily find an ATM, many food options, hotels, or other accommodations for their visit. Pompeii tours from companies like Bellarome can be facilitated through the city, and it is a great place to find Pompeii hotels and guided tours. The weather is typical of the Mediterranean, and visitors can enjoy good weather with lots of sunshine. People can utilize the train company, Circumvesuviana, to access the city of Pompei via trains from Naples. It is also the destination point for visiting the other ancient Roman city of Herculaneum, which is located closer to the mountain.
The History of the Ancient City of Pompeii
At the beginning of the 1st Century AD, Pompeii was a thriving city that acted as a trading hub and vacation destination for some of Rome’s most respected citizens. The town buzzed with brothels and bathhouses that entertained its visitors and residents. Many artisanal shops and taverns and restaurants helped spur the economic prosperity of the location. The city’s population was estimated at 11,000 people at the time of the eruption, and it hosted the classical infrastructure that distinguished ancient Rome as one of history’s greatest empires. Many instances of ancient life have been preserved here, and the site has stayed exactly how people lived hundreds of years ago. The best way to find out about all the intricacies and hidden secrets of ancient Roman life is to walk the ancient site with a tours guide who is well versed in the historical and natural context of the city. Bellarome guides are some of the best to spend a tour day in Pompeii.
The Natural Context of Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii/Herculaneum
The Pompeii eruption of Mount Vesuvius was a natural event that shook the ancient world. The volcanic eruption did not occur overnight, and the mountain had been an active volcanic site for thousands of years. Citizens of Pompeii were used to experiencing earthquakes and tremors for years leading up to the fateful day of the explosion, and in fact, there had been many eruptions in the ancient history of Mount Vesuvius. Despite all the warnings, the ancient Romans could not resist the natural beauty of the area, and in 79 AD, the mountain exploded so violently that it destroyed all of the surrounding towns, villages and farms including the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
10 Interesting Facts About Pompeii
If you are in Pompeii, visiting any of the ancient sites of the surrounding area, there are some interesting facts that may surprise you to know. There are many lesser known facts about the city that have given archaeologists and historians a new perspective on the ancient world. Bellarome tours offer the opportunity to learn all kinds of strange and fascinating facts that make Pompeii one of the biggest tourist attractions in the world. However, it’s always good to know a couple of facts yourself to help stimulate your lunch conversations. Below is a list of 10 interesting facts about Pompeii:
- One Witness’s Testimony: Pliny the Younger saw the eruption from a safe distance and created a first-hand account when he described what he saw in his writings. He watched the destruction of the cities and the violent eruption of the mountain from the town of Misenum, and he described the resulting volcanic plume, tremors and the ocean’s retreat as a result of the earthquake.
- Stronger than an Atomic Bomb: The eruption has been considered by some to be almost 500 times stronger than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Although it is difficult to tell exactly, even a lesser estimate displays astounding power.
- Plaster Casts of Human Bodies: Many of the people buried under the explosion of Mount Vesuvius left behind human shaped voids in the volcanic dust. Archaeologist Giuseppe Fiorelli realized this during his excavations and began to inject the voids with plaster to make perfect recreations of some of the explosion’s victims.
- 200 Miles of Destruction: It is estimated that the explosion from Mount Vesuvius, and the subsequent plumes of ash and molten lava, was to have affected an area of almost 200 square miles.
- By the Breath of the Wind: Due to unusual winds on the day of the explosion, much of the ash was blown directly towards Pompeii. If the weather had been a little different that day, Pompeii might not have suffered as greatly.
- A Sign from the Gods? The day before the volcanic eruption, the people of Pompeii were celebrating the Roman god of fire and metal forgery, Vulcan. Perhaps they stirred something within him that they should not have.
- The Birth of a New Word: Previous to the explosion of Mount Vesuvius, there was no word for volcano. The word Volcano was created afterward to describe what had happened, derived from the name of the Roman god, Vulcan.
- Gone, but Not Forgotten: The city of Pompeii was lost for nearly 1500 years after the explosion. It was only rediscovered again by accident in the year 1599 AD and has since become a major historical site.
- Looters were the Only Ones to Return: After the eruption had settled, the destruction was so widespread that no one attempted to resettle the area. Only looters returned to dig and carried out some of the city’s treasures.
- The Largest Archaeological Site in the World After excavation, the city of Pompeii is the world’s largest unearthed archaeological site with over 150 acres in size.
Famous Faces of Pompeii
Pompeii was a thriving city that hosted much of Roman’s upper class for vacation holidays within its grand villas and lively markets. This means there was always influential people coming and going to the city, no matter the time of year. Bellarome tours are a great way to learn about all of the historical figures that would frequent this famous city, and our guides can you give a glimpse into the lives of the rich and famous of the past. Some of these famous people include:
Emperor Nero, who ruled the Roman Empire from 54 AD to 68 AD, was believed to have had a villa near the city of Pompeii. His wife was originally from the city, and in Nero’s self-indulgence and decadent lifestyle, it is no surprise that he may have purchased a home in the area.
Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder was a famous Roman author who penned the encyclopedic book, Natural History, which became the basis for all encyclopedic collections. He died attempting to rescue townspeople during the explosion of Mount Vesuvius.
Pliny the Younger
Pliny the Younger was pupil and nephew of Pliny, the Elder. It is Pliny the Younger’s letters that give us a first-hand account of the destruction that Mount Vesuvius unleashed back in 79 AD.
Aulus Vettius Brothers
The Aulus Vettius brothers were two ex-slaves, who had risen from their lowly position to become successful and affluent members of society. A true rags to riches story, and their home, House of the Vettii, can be found among the ruins of Pompeii.
Things to See In Pompeii and Naples
When traveling to Naples Pompeii, you want to make sure that you can see all that the cities have to offer. Bellarome is a great way to find tours Rome, Naples tours, or even just a day Pompeii through the ruin sites, and we offer a huge variety of tours that will ensure you have the experience of a lifetime. If you check the tour reviews, you will see that Bellarome ranks as one of the best for guide Pompeii, and we can help you with booking a room or ticket for all of the biggest attractions in the Pompei, Pompeii area. No matter what you want to do or see, Bellarome can assist you in all your booking and guide needs. So of our favorite suggestions include:
The Ruins of Pompeii
The Ruins of Pompeii are the number one reason to visit Pompei, and the site attracts over 2 million visitors per year. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the largest excavated archeological site in the world. With over 150 acres of grounds to explore, there are many different sites and buildings to visit and explore. Bellarome gives guided tours through Pompeii and can help explain some of the significance, history, and lore surrounding many of these great sites. They are some of the best-preserved ruins in the world, which makes it particularly fascinating to walk through. Some of the most famous sections of the Pompeii ruins include:
- The Amphitheatre
- The Great Palaestra
- House of the Vettii
- House of the Faun
- Temple of Apollo
- Via Dei Sepolcri
- House of the Ancient Hunt
- The Basilica
- Forum Granary
- House of the Tragic Poet
The Ruins of Herculaneum
Although not as famous, Herculaneum is just as interesting a site as the city of Pompeii. Due to the way the volcano exploded, Herculaneum was preserved even better than parts of Pompeii. The volcanic rock that covered Herculaneum created an air-tight seal, which has preserved the city remarkably well, which has left many of the city’s stunning frescoes and buildings in excellent condition. Bellarome offers tours that will take you back in time to learn all that there is to know about the city that once rivaled Pompeii. One of our experienced guides can teach you about the history and give you insight that you would never expect. Some of the amazing features of the ruins of Herculaneum include:
- House of Neptune and Amphitrite
- Villa of the Papyri
- House of the Deer
- Samnite House
- House of the Beautiful Courtyard
- College of the Augustales
The Ruins of Oplontis
Oplontis was another town near Mount Vesuvius that was buried in the explosion of the mountain. Here you can find the Villa Poppaea, which is thought to have been owned by the second wife of Emperor Nero. This is another interesting site to explore some well-preserved ruins and is a little less traveled than the more popular Pompeii and Herculaneum. Bellarome offers special tours of this location and is a great way to get some insight that many others miss.
The Ruins of Stabiae
Another town that succumbed to the force of Mount Vesuvius is the town of Stabiae. This town was located only 16 km away from the mountain at the time of the explosion, and due to its proximity suffered much greater destruction than some of the other towns that were more preserved under the volcanic ash. This town is also considered the site where Pliny the Elder died during his rescue attempts at the time of the explosion. Although the ruins here are not as extensive as some of the other sites, it is still an interesting location to visit.
The Vesuvius Natural Reserve
A visit to the Vesuvius Natural Reserve is a visit to the scene of the crime. You can visit the crater of Mount Vesuvius and see the magnitude of the explosion that took out so much of the area. Bellarome offers tours where you can enjoy the natural beauty of the Italian countryside, as well as learn more about the geological movements that caused the destruction back in 79 AD.
National Archeological Museum
The National Archeological Museum in Naples is a great place to visit to help inform your trip to the ruin sites. Many of the best-preserved frescoes and artifacts are stored here, and it can be useful to visit to give the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum some context during a tour.
The Garden of the Fugitives
The Garden of the Fugitives hosts a few plaster casts of people who died in the explosion of Mount Vesuvius. The garden has been landscaped to match the plant growth at the time of the cities destruction, and the plaster casts have been arranged in the exact position of where they fell so many years ago.
Villa Dei Misteri
The Villa of the Mysteries is an extremely well-preserved villa on the outskirts of the city. It is famous for its frescoes, which are some of the best remaining ancient paintings that exist. Bellarome tours is a great way to find out more about the mysterious cult depicted in some of the frescoes.
The Shrine of Pompeii
The Shrine of Pompeii is a basilica that was built in the late 1800s and is considered a very important religious site. When there is a prayer to the Virgin Mary of Pompeii, the grounds cannot hold all of the pilgrims who arrive from all over the world to attend. The prayer is often broadcast on radio and television so that more people can see it.
See it All with Bellarome
There are many great locations in Pompeii and the surrounding areas. Bellarome can offer custom tours that will make sure you get to see everything that you want to see. Not only can Bellarome take you to the best destinations that Pompeii has to offer, but we can also make your experience something that is truly unique. There is so much history preserved within the city’s limits that it is important to have a knowledgeable guide who can show you more than just the sights. Bellarome tours can teach you about the story behind it all, and give you insight that would otherwise be missed. Our tours bring the history alive and can take you to some of the lesser known places among the ruins.
There are many great hotels Pompeii, located throughout the city, which give visitors a place to relax after a day of visiting the ruins. There is a range of hotels Pompei to fit every budget, and Bellarome can help make the best bookings for your trip. There are lots of hotels reviews that can help give you an idea of the best places to stay, but the experts at Bellarome also are well equipped to make some outstanding references without the need to review the hotel. Accommodations are available all over the city, and bookings can be made easily and quickly through Bellarome. There are options for agritourism, hotels, B&Bs, and many other options that are suitable for all types of people.
Places to Eat in Pompeii
There are many great restaurants throughout Pompeii and the surrounding area. From more traditional Italian food to fare for the vast amounts of visitors along the way, there are a ton of options for anyone who is hungry. In ancient times, the visitors to Pompeii would dine on olives and wine, and although it may not be the same, there are still options like that for visitors today. Bellarome can recommend a great variety of restaurants and eateries that are sure to satisfy everyone at the table. Remember that Naples is the birthplace of pizza, so if you are in the area, make sure to get some so you can taste how pizza is supposed to be made.
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