A visit of the archaeological area of Pompeii should start from Porta Marina which is in the direction of the sea.

    This gate that seems a tower built into the old walls had two passageways: one for the pedestrians and the other for the animals and the means of transport. In a niche in the wall there is a terracotta statue representing Minerva, the protectress of the gate.


    Near the gate there was Villa Suburbana, a building dating back to the imperial age with paintings belonging to the third Pompeian style (20 B.C. – 45 A.D.).
     Just outside the gate there are the suburban thermals. In Via Marina there is the Venus temple built by Silla in 80 B.C.. On the left, following the same direction, there is the Apollo temple formed by a portico with 48 columns.
    The origins of the temple date back to the Samnite period and inside the sacred enclosure there were statues representing several pagan gods such as Apollo and Diana. In the vicinity of the temple there is a pre-Roman Basilica and next to this there is the civil Forum which was the heart of the economic, social and religious life in old Pompei.

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    There were important buildings by the sides of the main square such as the Jupiter’s Temple and the Basilica, during the imperial age other important buildings such as the Building of Eumachia, the Temple of Vespasian and the Shrine of the Public Lares were erected.

    Excavations sites

    The Building of Eumachia with its two-storeyed colonnade and the shops forming the cloth market, were built by Eumachia a priestess of Venus. The Temple of Vespasian built about the time of Vesuvius’ eruption in 79 A.D. is incomplete.

    However set in the centre of the court it is possible to admire a marble art which depicts scenes of a sacrifice.
    The Shrine of the Public Lares is adorned with polychrome marble and was during the imperial age a place of faith. The Macellum dates from the time of Augustus.

    An elegant entrance hall, a quadrangular porch with marble columns, affords access to shops and “tabernae”.
    In fact in Roman cities the macellum was a sort of whole-sale market.
    On the north side of the Forum there is the Temple of Jupiter dedicated to the triad of the Capitoline deities: Jupiter, Juno and Minerva, the Temple of Augustus erected probably by the politician Marco Tullio and the thermae built in 80 B.C.


    Excavations of Pompeii First of all it is important to underline that houses in Pompeii were not only domestic places but sacred places, too.
    If in the IV century B.C. we find houses consisting of a massive construction enclosed on the outside and a group of rooms inside arranged round a central atrium, from the III century the typical Pompeian house tended to become larger, more patrician in style and more lavish in decoration by the inclusion of a peristyle, a flower garden and new and more spacious rooms.
    A typical elegant house of the imperial age is represented by the House of the Poeta tragico, inside which there is the famous floor mosaic “Cave Canem”.
    Then there is the House of Pansa this is one of the largest in Pompeii and belonged to a merchant family Nigidii. At the crossing of Via delle Terme and Via Consolare there is the House del Bracciale d’ Oro, inside which there are wonderful frescoes.
    In Via Consolare there is also the House of Sallustio, a typical Samnite building. Inside there are frescoes representing Diana and Atteone. Another Samnite building is the House of the Chirurgo so called because the archaeologists found here old surgical instruments that are now kept in the Neapolitan Archaeological Museum. At the end of Via Consolare there is Porta Ercolano that connected Pompeii to Herculaneum and Oplonti. Along Via Merurio which statrs with the Arch of Caligula there are important buildings to visit such as the House dell’ ancora and the two Houses with the large and small fountains. Excavations of Pompeii
    Moreover there are the houses of Adonis, of Apollo and the Samnite house of Meleagro. In the alley Mercurio there is the House of the Faun so called because in the centre of the atrium there is the bronze statue of a dancing satyr. A splendid mosaic representing Alexander Magnus fighting against Dario was found here and is now conserved in Naples National Gallery. In vicolo dei Vetti stands one of the most beautiful and luxurious houses of Pompeii: the House of the Vettii which takes its name from its owners, Aulo Vettio Restituto and Aulo Vettio Conviva.
    This family belonged to the rich merchant class. Of particular interest there are frecoes representing Priapo, the divinity of fertility, and the luxurious triclinium, with walls  painted with a delicate frieze of Cupids engaged in a variety of pursuits.
    Vicolo dei Vetti ends with one of the most important gates of the town: Porta Vesuvius. In Via Vesuvius there are houses which belonged to illustrious and rich people such as Gneo Poppeo Abito and Lucio Cecilio Giocondo, opposite Giocondo’ s house is the house of Orpheus with a fresco representing Orpheus.
    In Via Nola there are two houses that worth mentioning. The first dates back to the imperial age and belonged to Marco Lucrezio Frontone; the second is the House of the Gladiators.
     In Via Stabia,  which linked Pompeii to Stabiae and Sorrento, stand two thermal buildings, the Central one and the  Stabiana one. The first was built after the earthquake of 62 B.C. while the second dates back to the IV century B.C.

     Excavations of Pompeii The triangular Forum was the centre of  sports activities and next to it stood the Samnite Palestra.
    The inhabitants of old Pompeii loved plays, performances and games. In the Large Theatre built between 200 and 150 B.C. it was possible to assist at music auditions and mime shows while the Amphitheatre with a capacity of 12.000 was the place where the gladiators held their games.
    Via dell’Abbondanza, one of the principal roads crossed the town from east to weast, was lined with commercial activities, fruit shops, laundries, workshops for carding wool and producing felt as well as taverns.
    Towards the end of Via dell’ Abbondanza there are three splendid villas: the House of Loreio Tiburtino, the House of Venus and Villa of Giulia Felice. Parallel to Via dell’ Abbondanza in Vicolo Meridionale there is the house of Menandro, the famous greek playwright, in which archaeologists found 115 silver articlwes. In Via dei Sepolcri, near Porta Gaeta, are other important buildings such as Villa of Diomede with its garden which includes the largest swimming-pool in Pompeii and the famous Villa of the Mysteries discovered in1909, it was built in the II century B.C. and the villa takes its name from the paintings which deals with Dionysiac mysteries.

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    Testi: Teresa Gagliardi


    Pompeii was set on irregular land which was flat only where the Forum stood.
    Excavations of Pompeii The walls were enlarged during the Samnite period and reached an extension of 3200 metres.
    The walls were built in yellow travertine and were staggered by eight gates: the Vesuvio and the Capua Gates on the  north side, the Marina Gate on the west side, the Herculaneum Gate on the north-west side, the Nola  and Sarno Gates on the east side and the two Gates of Nocera and Stabiae on the south side.
    During the Roman age many private houses were built and for this reason the archaeologists have divided the built-up area into quarters.
    Along the main roads and the side streets there were altars, stores and workshops on which outside walls people carved graffiti, epigraphs, short love poems but also invectives in Greek, Latin and Aramaic.


    Beato Bartolo Longo - fonte: www.santiebeati.itIn Via Sacra there are the Pompeian Institutes founded by Bartolo Longo.
    The female orphanage was founded in 1887 while other institutes founded later such as “Bartolo Longo” and Sacro Cuore” give hospitality to the prisoner’s children.
    Opposite the Sanctuary there is the Pilgrims House founded in 1939. Worthy of attention is the town hall and the thermals.

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    Porta Marina - Piazza Anfiteatro - Piazza Esedra

    Main access routes

    by train:
    entrance at Porta Marina or Piazza Esedra
    Circumvesuviana Napoli-Sorrento (stop Pompei Scavi - Villa dei Misteri)
    entrance at Piazza Anfiteatro
    Circumvesuviana Napoli-Poggiomarino (stop Pompei Santuario)
    FS Napoli - Salerno (stop Pompei)

    by bus:
    entrance from Porta Marinaor Piazza Esedra
    SITA: from Napoli or from Salerno: stop Pompei ( piazza Esedra).
    CSTP n.4 from Salerno
    CSTP n.50 from Salerno (by motorway)

    by car:
    Motorway A3 Napoli-Salerno (exit Pompei ovest )
    Motorway A3 Salerno - Napoli (exit Pompei est)