Pompeii has ancient origins, almost as Rome. Rich in monuments and squares, Pompeii is the city of the beautiful country – perhaps more than any other – where history lives and it is shown to the enchanted eyes of millions of tourists. Even you have not been able to resist its charm, aren’t you?
Do not be afraid, even if you have little time or you are just passing through on business you can visit Pompeii. Nothing is impossible if you really want, as long as the alarm sounds early in the morning. Try to be in town for 8:00, Pompeii is well connected, arriving there and moving around is quick and easy. But what to see in Pompeii in a single day? You can choose between two options:
- Dedicate a full day to the ruins of Pompeii.
- Have shopping in the city centre after visiting the Villa of the Mysteries and the Shrine of the Virgin of the Rosary.
First option, the ruins of Pompeii, here is what to see inside:
Few tips for you: wear comfortable shoes and bring with you sandwich, water, smartphone for photos, sunscreen in summer and umbrella in winter… there is much to see and you have to walk.
The Forum and the Temple of Apollo
From Via Marina you have now the opportunity to see the historical centre of Pompei inside the archaeological site. The Forum is the beating heart of the city, economic ,cultural and religious centre, political Agora of the debates that inflamed the population.
During the second century a.D. the Forum was expanded: the traditional flooring made in tuff was replaced by travertine, widely used today, the square was enriched with numerous workshops and public buildings.
In the middle stands the temple of Apollo, one of the oldest religious buildings of Pompeii. This place is worshiped different gods such as Apollo and Mercury. The statuettes found are now at the Archaeological Museum of Naples.
It is the oldest stone building ever found, dating back to 80 BC, was the scene of bloody battles between gladiators and has a capacity of 20,000 spectators, you can easily reach it from the hole into Via dell’Abbondanza.
The arena was accessed through a tunnel, the crypt is connected to four inputs. Unlike other Roman amphitheatres the Pompeian one has not underground, at the top are visible the holes used to support the roof of the arena in order to protect the spectators from the sun when it was too hot and from the rain.
Did you know that Pink Floyd played in this timeless place in 1971? They recorded their Live at Pompeii, a concert without an audience, as if to pay homage to the souls of fallen warriors in battle. One of his most exciting in the history of Rock.
I want to give you a little tip: if you have the opportunity to stay until sunset, Via dell’Abbondanza is a very surreal scenery for a walk. It gives you the sensation of being suspended time between dream and reality.
House of the Faun
If you are a lover of ancient history, you should not miss the House of the Faun: it is located not far from the Forum, in Via della Fortuna. This ancient Roman villa occupies inside the archaeological site about 3000 square meters, and it is one of the oldest and majestic city buildings.
Its size suggests that it belonged to an outstanding member of the Roman nobility. It owes its name to the Faun, Roman god of woods and nature: his small bronze statue is located in the atrium at the center of the impluvium.
Surrounded by huge gardens, the hotel is characterized by more entrances. The right door introduces to environments of personal use: bathrooms, stables, baths and kitchen. The door opened to the left instead of sector representation. The floors are covered with mosaics and decorations date back to the Pompeian style.
The center of the house was decorated with a mosaic depicting the victory of Alexander the Great against Darius, king of Persia, currently on display at the museum in Naples. Small curiosity: it is thought that the villa had belonged to the grandson of the tyrant Silla.
The large theatre
Located not far from the House of the Faun and the Sanctuary, the Large Theatre was built in the second century BC .The stairs were realized by exploiting the cavity of the slope. The structure could accommodate about 5,000 spectators, to each one was reserved a number.
The upper tier is divided into seven sectors and is supported by a ring–shaped corridor. The stairway was protected by a wall that supported the awning, a mobile tarp sheltered spectators from the elements. The stage and the set were accompanied by statues and marble. On stage they were performed the famous comedies of Plautus and Terence.
Endorse the Grand Theatre can be the icing on the cake of your short visit to Pompeii. It is still very active, recently were brought on stage works of the caliber of Boheme of Puccini and Bizet’s Carmen. What are you waiting for?
- When: from 1 November to 31 March: daily from 8:30 to 17:00, with last admission at 15:30. From 1 April to 31 October: daily from 8:30 to 19:30, with last admission at 18:00.
- Closed: 1st January, 1st May and 25th December.
- How much: adults € 11 concessions € 5.50. Ticket for access to the sites of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplontis, Stabia, Boscoreale (valid for 3 days) costs € 20, € 10 concessionary. Free entry for EU citizens under 18 or over 65 years.
Shrine of the Virgin, Villa Dei Misteri, shopping
What to see in Pompeii in a single day? The excavations are the first option. The second, however, will allow you to enjoy other aspects of Pompeii: shopping, gastronomy, handicrafts, not to mention the historical monuments.
The Shrine of the Virgin of the Rosary
The Shrine of Pompeii was founded by Bartolo Longo who has headed the eponymous square as the cathedral. It is one of the major centers of Marian devotion in Italy, on 8 May and the first Sunday of October it hosts hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from all over the world to celebrate the Supplication to Our Lady of Pompeii: the prayer written by Bartolo Longo and transmitted from radio and television around the world.
The monument was built between 1876 and 1891 under the direction of Antonio Cua, later replaced by Giovanni Rispoli, it has been expanded several times over the centuries to receive the huge flow of faithful who go still to visit picture of the Virgin.
With regard to the painting I want to tell you an anecdote. It is said that a young woman suffering from a severe form of epilepsy went to the Shrine to ask the Virgin to be healed and it seems that the miracle happened for real, that’s one of the reasons for which the site attracts millions of travelers.
The basilica is a cross with three aisles accompanied by three altars that are joined behind the apse. The nave culminates in a dome 57 meters high.
As a guardian never dozed a few steps from the cathedral stands the bell tower, designed by Aristide and Pio Leonori, impressive in its 5 floors. With a single glance you can see Vesuvius, the ruins and the entire Gulf of Naples. Here you can find all the information you need, visiting hours and celebrations: www.santuario.it
Villa of the Mysteries
The Villa of the Mysteries is one of the most visited sites of Pompeii, especially for the series of frescoes showing Dionysian mysteries of that we still ignore the real meaning.
Featuring more than seventy rooms finely decorated and painted, many of which were used for dinners and social events. The building is located slightly outside the ancient walls of the city but if you love the mystery and you’re willing to push beyond the boundaries of known this is the place for you.
There is still an open debate among scholars: some believe that the woman depicted in the paintings is to be initiated at the Dionysian rite, others argue that it is simply prepared for the wedding.
Between shopping and craft
Pompei also offers the beautiful views to admire the Vesuvio and the entire Gulf of Naples.
If you want to shop, Via Lepanto is the ideal area.
One more thing to be seen in the city between a gift shop and the other with a little attention, you will see small workshops specialized in the production of the cameo, a jewel proceeds from the incision of a layered stone, usually onyx . The decoration of this jewelry requires technique and accuracy of which the master craftsmen of Pompeii are experts.
What to see in Pompeii in a single day?
These are our recommendations: what to see in Pompeii in a single day. You can choose between two routes and you can – to facilitate your stay – choose among the best hotels in Pompeii and download our tour guide.
Do you have other suggestions on what to see in Pompeii? Leave them in the comments.