Thursday, 2 August 2012

Travelogue: Trip to Italy Part 2b - Pompeii & Herculaneum - Pompeii

After spending the morning at Herculaneum, we headed towards Pompeii via the Circumvesuvian railway and alight at Pompei Scavi Station. The entrance to Pompeii is about 50m away from the station. Many people gets confused regarding the name, the ancient site is known as Pompeii while the modern town that stands there now is called Pompei.


Got tips from several travel forums to avoid visiting before noon time at Pompeii as that is the time when most big tour groups descend on Pompeii. That was the reason why we went to Herculaneum first, had lunch in Pompei then visited Pompeii after. True enough when we got there, ticket booths were deserted, we got our tickets and started our exploration. It costs €11 for adults or you can get the combi ticket at €20 for a five-sight pass (including Pompeii and Herculaneum available, valid for 3 days).

Map of Pompeii
Pompeii is huge in comparison to Herculaneum. Bring your comfy walking shoes, coz you will need them, not just due to the large distance you will have to cover but also walking on Roman cobblestone walkways is super tiring. We checked out the map to decide how we should explore the vast site. Even with the map, it felt like we were walking in a maze!

Looking towards the modern town of Pompei

There are a few entrances to the site. We went in through the main Porta Marina entrance. You can rent audioguides if you want to.

Old roads in Pompeii

I am not going to go into the history of Pompeii. That you can easily find on the internet. Instead I will just post mostly pictures of the site. If you wish to enhance your knowledge on top of your visit to Pompeii, you should visit the National Archaelogical Museum in Naples. It boasts a fine collection of objects and artifacts from Pompeii and also Herculaneum. It is an amazing museum to visit if you have the extra time and since it is in Naples, you can also go and try the amazing pizzas while you are there.

The Forum
The first place you will see when you get into Pompeii is the forum. It was the main center of life in Pompeii. Due to its location right near the main gate, it is also the most crowded with tourists. A tip is to get away from there first to the furthest location in Pompeii and work your way back when it is less busy.

Inside of one of the buildings

Basilica in the Forum
Temple of Apollo in the Forum

House of the Great Altar

The site is immense and you will need to pace yourself to take in all the sights Pompeii has to offer. There are plenty of online guides, or books or the audio guide you can hire to understand the history and to get more information about Pompeii, especially for the history buffs.

Old Streets of Pompeii
More streets

We spotted quite a few dogs on the site. There are signs scattered about Pompeii explaining the presence of these dogs. Earlier on, there were problems with these strays as they scared some tourists as fights broke out among them for territories. The authorities then decided to encourage the adoption of these strays. So far quite a few have been adopted with the exception of those we saw on the site. When we were there, they didn't pose any threat or problems. They were just contented to wander around the sites. Most were happily sleeping, or staring at the tourists wandering. I hope that soon all these dogs will get adopted.

One of the Pompeii strays

Handsome doggie. Wish I can bring you home with me

We wandered around some more till our feet were too tired to take us further. I will leave you with more photo memories of the glorious site.

Stoves in the restaurant of that time
Wonderfully preserved mosaics
View of the Pompeii site
A plaque as we entered the amphitheatre
Interior of the Amphitheatre
Pompeii Cemetery and Tombs

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