Info Pompeii tours from Sorrento
Douring Pompeii tours, with Rome to Amalfi Coast Tours, you can see the city that slept for 1500 years.
Mount Vesuvius, a volcano near the Bay of Naples, erupted in the year 79 A.D. and buried the ancient Roman city of Pompeii under a thick carpet of volcanic ash and two thousand people died.
In 1748 a group of explorers rediscovered the site, it was a flourishing resort for Rome’s most distinguished citizens. Elegant houses and elaborate villas lined the paved streets. During the first phase, the excavation was carried out essentially in order to find art objects. The excavation unearthed three large prehistoric dwellings: horseshoe-shaped huts, living areas, and the equivalent of kitchens. Researchers found dozens of pots, pottery plates, and crude hourglass-shaped canisters that still contained fossilized traces of almonds, flour, grain, acorns, olive pits, even mushrooms. Simple partitions separated the rooms; one hut had what appeared to be a loft. The tracks of goats, sheep, cattle, and pigs, as well as their human masters, crisscrossed the yard outside. The skeletons of nine pregnant goats lay in an enclosed area that included an animal pen. If a skeleton can be said to cower, the bones of an apparently terrified dog huddled under the eaves of one roof. What preserved this prehistoric village, what formed a perfect impression of its quotidian contents right down to leaves in the thatch roofs and cereal grains in the kitchen containers, was the fallout and surge and mud from the Avellino eruption of Vesuvius.
THE MAIN THINGS TO SEE IN POMPEII ARE
Pompeii – Theaters
Pompeii had two theaters, where plays were produced, and an Amphitheater for open-air shows such as gladiatorial combats.
The Teatro Grande (Large Theater) could seat 5,000 spectators and is used for Son et lumière shows in summer. The top row commands one of the best views of the city and Vesuvius.
The smaller theater, called the Odeon, seating about 1,500, was built similarly, but had a roof. The Odeon was intended for a more educated audience, and was used mainly for musical performances, poetry recitals, and mime.
The Forum, or Foro in Italian, is enclosed by colonnades and bounded on the north by the Temple of Jupiter, rising on a three-meter base. At the corner to its right is the Macellum, a hall for selling food. Various shrines, temples, and other buildings surround the Forum — the Shrine of the Lares, the Temple of Vespasian, a hall for selling wool, and the Curia, where the town council met. Nearby, the basilica was used as a market and a law-court. To its left, the Temple of Apollo is surrounded by 48 Ionic columns. One of the newer homes to be opened is that of Triptolemus, in front of the basilica.
On one side of the central porticoed gymnasium the rooms for the baths can be found: frigidarium, tepidarium, caldarium, split into areas for women and men and the furnaces.
The rooms had heated floors, supported by piles of bricks to create a cavity where furnace driven hot air could circulate. Hot air was also distributed via terracotta pipes inside the perimeter walls, to heat the room even more effectively. Exquisite decorations depicting mythological scenes are preserved in both the entranceway and the gymnasium. Those were made using moisture resistant stucco and calcite based grout.
The main areas of the house were decorated in the latest, fourth style frescos. The themes of this decoration varied across the house. In the atrium were scenes from the Nile while in the wing to the east, various episodes from the Trojan War were portrayed. In the garden rooms, the theme was poetical and theatrical, in keeping with the function of entertaining. One of the poets portrayed, Menander, was used to name the house by its modern excavators.
The house was close to the rural areas surrounding Pompeii and seems to have acted as an agricultural unit as well as an elite townhouse. The stable yard was found to have evidence of carts and agricultural tools, probably used at the owner’s farm, where no doubt vines and olives were grown for profit.
This may seem unusual but it was not incompatible with the house’s function as an elite residence. The Roman businessman liked to be situated in the hub of economic activity; it was not an advantage to be spatially removed from your interests.
The atrium and tablinium within the house acted as the owner’s office. There was no reason why manual activities could not occur on the property, as long as they were away from the public zones. The stable yard was peripheral and had a separate entrance onto the street. It in no way diminished the standing of the rest of the house.
The Great Palaestra (Gymnasium)
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.
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.
Is the only building in Pompeii built specifically for this purpose. The brothel, located in the ruins of Pompeii, was distributed on two floors, each one reserved for a certain type of customer. The ground floor made by five bedrooms, a hallway and a bathroom, was for lower class customers. The first floor, however, was reserved for the upper class customers. Its own entrance and balcony roof gave access to the rooms, and it was also decorated with a refined taste. On the walls, you can still see the little pictures drawning voracious lovers in different erotic positions, ideal for lazy lovers looking for some inspiration. At the entrance of the Lupanare, as in most modern coffee shops, there was the chance to buy condoms to use with charming slaves of the brothel.
House of the Faun
This is the biggest house in Pompeii and gets its name from the statue in the front courtyard. There’s a large courtyard in the back where you can also find a very detailed mosaic of a battle scene.
Garden of FugitivesLocated in the back of Pompeii, this old vineyard has preserved casts of people who didn’t make it out of the city alive. There’s also a fantastic garden here.
In Pompeii diuring Pompeii tours from Sorrento you can see also:
House of Venus in the Shell
Another place located far away from the crowds, this house has a colorful fresco to the goddess Venus. There are also a few gardens here and a detailed statue of Mars.
The Villa of the Mysteries
Just outside the city walls, this villa-cum-farm includes the most famous Pompeian wall-painting. A mysterious scene wrapping around the four walls of a large reception room, featuring flagellation, phalluses, a bride and the god Dionysus.
This is now the most-visited building on the site (more visited than in antiquity, no doubt) – and you may well have to queue to get in. It consists of five poky cubicles, with some explicit erotic paintings and a lot of graffiti from satisfied customers.
The House of the Tragic Poet
It has nothing actually to do with a tragic poet, but most houses got nicknames in the 19th century.
This is among the best-preserved private houses and features the famous “Beware of the Dog” mosaic at its entrance – and it was the one that Edward Bulwer-Lytton chose as the home of his hero Glaucus, in his engaging 1830s romp The Last Days of Pompeii.
Just outside ancient Pompeii’s city walls, this 1st-century-BC bathhouse is famous for several erotic frescoes that scandalised the Vatican when they were revealed in 2001. The panels decorate what was once the apodyterium (changing room). The room leading to the colourfully frescoed frigidarium (cold bath) features fragments of stuccowork, as well as one of the few original roofs to survive at Pompeii. Beyond the tepadarium (tepid bath) and caldarium (hot bath) rooms are the remains of a heated outdoor swimming pool.
Villa dei misteri
400 metres north of Pompeii, just on the outskirts, is a suburban villa that was owned by God-knows-who. That’s the case for most houses in Pompeii, but the villa does stand out for a few reasons. One, though buried like the rest of the city, it was significantly less damaged. It takes it’s name from a series of paintings that depict the initiation of a young woman into a mysterious cult of Dionysus, though it’s also suspected of being a rite of marriage. They even found a wine press here.
INFO – Pompeii tours from Sorrento, Amalfi Coast, Naples and Rome
Pompeii is open every day except 25th December, 1st January and 1st May. From 1st April to 31st October the site is open 8.30 – 7.30pm (with last entrance 6pm). At other times the site is open 8.20 – 5pm (with last entrance 3.30pm).
Every first Sunday of the month all sites are Free