Pompeii, Where Ancient Rome Still Lives

It is an easy day trip from the Amalfi Coast to Pompeii, the Roman town buried in the ash

By Amalfi Coasting

The strangest sight I saw in all my wanderings has been Pompeii. Here, the traveler may feel himself transported bodily into the realms of antiquity; and he whose mind is trained… may discover in a flash more solid truth than the most ingenious of scholars. There is indescribable pleasure to be had from meeting face to face with this self-same antiquity, concerning which one has read such countless volumes”. Stendhal, “Rome, Naples and Florence”

 It is a nice day trip from the Amalfi Coast to Pompeii, the famous Roman town, buried under 20-plus feet of ash from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D.

On August 24, 79 A.D. , the volcano literally blew its top, spewing tons of molten ash, pumice and sulfuric gas miles into the atmosphere. A "firestorm" of poisonous vapors and molten debris engulfed the surrounding area suffocating the inhabitants of the neighboring Roman resort cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae. The cities remained buried and undiscovered for almost 1700 years until excavation began in 1748.

Watch the video of the last great eruption of Mt Vesuvius in 1944

Here is how Roman writer and senator Pliny the Younger described experiencing the eruption in two letters to contemporary historian Cornelius Tacitus:

" It was not clear at that distance from which mountain the cloud was rising (it was afterwards known to be Vesuvius); its general appearance can best be expressed as being like an umbrella pine, for it rose to a great height on a sort of trunk and then split off into branches, I imagine because it was thrust upwards by the first blast and then left unsupported as the pressure subsided, or else it was borne down by its own weight so that it spread out and gradually dispersed. In places it looked white, elsewhere blotched and dirty, according to the amount of soil and ashes it carried with it.

Ashes were already falling, not as yet very thickly. I looked round: a dense black cloud was coming up behind us, spreading over the earth like a flood. 'Let us leave the road while we can still see,' I said, 'or we shall be knocked down and trampled underfoot in the dark by the crowd behind.' We had scarcely sat down to rest when darkness fell, not the dark of a moonless or cloudy night, but as if the lamp had been put out in a closed room. You could hear the shrieks of women, the wailing of infants, and the shouting of men; some were calling their parents, others their children or their wives, trying to recognize them by their voices. People bewailed their own fate or that of their relatives, and there were some who prayed for death in their terror of dying. Many besought the aid of the gods, but still more imagined there were no gods left, and that the universe was plunged into eternal darkness for evermore.”

Amalfi Coasting selected excerpts from “POMPEII: ITS LIFE AND ART”, by German archeologist August Mau, one of the best books ever written about Pompeii in terms of historical narrative and archeological explanation. You can find Part 1 HERE

Take a virtual tour of Pompeii with Google Map

Watch Pompeii: Rebirth of a City - History Documentary


Pompeii Archeological Area

Infopoint: tel. 0818575347     Access points Porta Marina - Piazza Esedra - Piazza Anfiteatro   Opening hours 1st April – 31st October:    daily from 8.30 am to 7.30 pm (admission closes at 6 pm) 1st November – 31st March: daily from 8.30 am to 5 pm (admission closes at 3.30 pm)Tickets Single for Pompeii (valid for 1 day) Full price € 11,00 Reduced price € 5,50 (*)5 sites (Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplontis, Stabiae, Boscoreale) – valid for 3 consecutive days Full price: € 20,00 Reduced price: € 10,00 (*)Free ticket: European Union citizens under 18 or over 65

You can buy tickets online HERE

How to get there By train: For the entrance to Porta Marina and Piazza Esedra: Circumvesuviana Naples-Sorrento (Pompei Villa dei Misteri Stop) For the entrance to Piazza Anfiteatro: Circumvesuviana Naples-Poggiomarino (Pompei Santuario Stop) FS (Italian railways) Naples - Salerno (Pompei Stop)By bus: SITA from Naples and from Salerno CSTP no. 4 from Salerno CSTP no. 50 from Salerno By car: A3 Naples-Salerno Motorway - ExitPompei Ovest Exit

Additional information

www.pompeiisites.org on Pompeii

www.nytimes.com on Pompeii

www.italia.it on Pompeii

Pompeii, Herculaneum and Paestum are just 30 to 50 miles from one of the most beautiful areas in Italy, the Amalfi Coast. Positano, Amalfi and Ravello, are its most well-known towns, but at the heart of the Costiera is a fourth jewel, Praiano, a much less hectic and more authentic town, where many discerning tourists have begun to stay, using a a base for their Amalfi Coasting. Try Praiano, trust us!

Our Suggested Guide of Pompeii, Part 1

Excerpts "“POMPEII: ITS LIFE AND ART”, by German archeologist August Mau

Our Suggested Guide of Pompeii, Part 2

Our Suggested Guide of Pompeii, Part 3

Our Suggested Guide of Pompeii, Part 4

Excerpts from “POMPEII: ITS LIFE AND ART”, by German archeologist August Mau

Pompeii: Seeing is Believing

An article by Helen E. Parson published on April 2nd, 2005 by the Guelph Mercury (Ontario, Canada)