This entrance is located about 100 meters from the Pompeii train stop. The cost of entry is €16. Tickets purchased online still need to be exchanged here for a physical ticket. These public baths were built outside the city walls and were most likely meant for visitors. The baths were first discovered in 1958 and a complete excavation did not occur until 1985. Mount Vesuvius can be seen in the distance and is about 5 miles (8km) away. This entrance had a small gate meant for pedestrian traffic and a larger gate for horses and pack animals. Pompeii was originally a walled city with eight entrance gates. You will see the villas of many wealthy owners during this tour and they all have similar features. A typical villa in Pompeii had a main entrance hall called an atrium. The atrium had an opening in the roof so rain water could be collected in the pool on the floor called an impluvium. Following an atrium, there was often a tablinium (reception room) and the triclinium (dining room). Here you can see the atrium with the sunk-in remains of the impluvium at the center. This house, known also as the House of the Sailor, was first discovered in 1859. Atrium There are two levels to this villa with the bottom area dedicated to baking. Tablinum (Reception Room) This house first became open to the public in 2017. This lower area was a garden. This corridor leads to the kitchen and baths area. Baths This is the changing room for the baths called an Apodyterium. The series of small rooms around the atrium are the bedrooms called cubicula. The impluvium in each house was used to filter water into an underground cistern. Look closely at the edge of impluvium and you will see the drain hole into the cistern. Atrium This is a view of the peristyle in the house next door. A peristyle is an open courtyard surrounded by columns and is a common feature of a Roman house. Peristyle Both villas were hit by allied bombing in 1943 destroying nearly all of the paintings and several rooms. A fragment of a mosaic found in the house. This temple of Greek origin was built in 120 BC and is one of the oldest places of worship in Pompeii. This a replica of a statue of Apollo found here. The original is now in the National Archaeological Museum of Naples. Excavations have confirmed this area was a religious site dedicated to Apollo dating back to the founding of Pompeii in the 6th-century BC. There are a total of 48 columns surrounding the temple. In 62AD, just seventeen years before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, there was a large earthquake that destroyed much of Pompeii. At the time of the eruption in 79AD, Pompeii was still in the process of being rebuilt. This replica is of Diana, the Roman goddess of wild animals. These holes in the curb are believed to have been used to tether animals pulling carts. The Civil Forum was the center of religious, cultural and political activity in Pompeii. The Forum was enclosed on three sides by a raised portico or colonnaded porch. Statues were once on the pedestals in front of the colonnade but were never replaced after being destroyed in the 62AD earthquake. Eumachia was a priestess who paid for the construction of this building in the early 1st-century AD. The Eumachia was the largest structure in the Forum. This was where merchants could invest in commodities such as wine, oil and wool. This is a side entrance leading down to Via dell’Abbondaza. This is a replica of a statue found here of the priestess Eumachia. This shrine and altar are believed to have been intended for the worship of Emperor Augustus during his life. This next temple was built after the 62AD earthquake and was dedicated to Pompeii’s tutelary gods. It had no roof and was completely open on the side facing the Forum. The large rectangle areas show where an arch once stood. It was tore down to provide a better view of the arch behind it. The Macellum was an open air market surrounded by a portico. This side of the Macellum was lined with small shops. At this end of the Macellum was an elevated hall for worship. The circular structure at the center was used for selling and cleaning fish. The Macellum was built between 130 and 120 BC. This arch was originally faced with marble and held statues of Nero and Druscus. This ancient street sign is joined with a modern sign describing the “address” of this location. This is the only restaurant inside the archaeological park. Each niche on this side of the arch held a fountain. The Forum was a pedestrian only zone. These raised stones prevented any wheeled carts from entering. Benches rested on the blocks and water flowed around the perimeter to flush out the waste. This arch once had a pair on the opposite side of the temple but it was torn down to provide a better view of the larger Honorary Arch. The Forum Granary is believed to have housed the fruit and vegetable market. It was built after the 62AD earthquake and may not have been completed at the time of the eruption. Today it houses the largest collection of Pompeii artifacts. A plaster cast of a child found in the lower level of the House of the Golden Bracelet. A plaster cast of a man found crouched in the corner of his house with a scarf over his mouth. The dog was found in November, 1874. It was tied up behind the front door of the House of Vesonius Primus. This was a weighing table used to convert weights from different parts of the Empire into valid weights in Pompeii. The Basilica was built between 120 and 78 BC making it the oldest public building in Pompeii. It was originally a covered two story building but the 62AD earthquake caused the roof the cave in. The building housed the town’s law courts and was where businessmen would make deals. The raised platform at the end was a tribunal where the judges sat while judicial affairs were managed. The city of Pompeii dates back to the 8th-century BC with the arrival of the Greeks in the Campania region of Italy. The Etruscans were the next to arrive around 574 BC and Pompeii became a part of the Etruscan League of Cities. The Samnites from southern Italy were the next in line to rule over Pompeii between 5th and 2nd-century BC. There are three buildings here at the south end of the Forum known as the Municipal Buildings. This office was responsible for the public works and maintenance of town buildings. These stairs led up to the second level of the Forum portico. With the rise of Rome in the north, the Samnites were eventually bound to Rome as allies or socii. The majority of this walk was filmed on a cloudy day so there would be no dark shadows disrupting the view. All the streets and gates were named by modern archaeologists. The original names are not known. This street gets its name from a relief on a fountain located on this street. The relief actually represents Vittoria Augusta but was mistakenly interpreted as abundance (abbondanza). There must be something interesting to see in this direction! Via dell’Abbondanza was the main street (decumanus maximus) of ancient Pompeii. During the 2nd-century BC, Pompeii joined Rome in its conquest of the east. Pompeii grew even more wealthy and many buildings were constructed during this time including the Forum, the Large Theater, the Basilica and Stabian Baths. In this ancient city of around 15,000 residents, there were once over 30 bakeries. There were also over 30 brothels, but only one that was built specifically for that use. The Lupanar is the most famous brothel in all of Pompeii. The word lupanar means wolf den and a prostitute was a lupa, meaning she wolf. The Lupanar had a total of 10 beds with 5 on the ground floor and 5 on the upper floor. There were about three dozen public fountains in Pompeii. Most were on street corners like this one. Only the wealthy had a source of water in their home but with so many fountains, the average person did not have far to walk to get water. If a visitor looks closely, they will see phallic symbols hiding all around Pompeii on roads, walls, doorways and even above bread ovens. Some tour guides say the phalluses were an early form of advertising. Most scholars believe the phalluses were not advertisements but were instead symbols of good luck. Between 91 and 89 BC, Pompeii fought against Rome in the Social Wars with other towns in Campania. Here at the southeast corner of the Forum was the Comitium which acted as a polling station for municipal elections. There was no roof and the building had five entrances. This central area of the Forum was once paved with travertine stone slabs. It is believed that the 79AD eruption stripped away the floor of the Forum as well as the marble walls of the buildings. . The Forum is 142 meters long and 38 meters wide. The main focal point of the Forum was the Temple of Jupiter, or Temple of the Capitoline Triad, here at the north end. It was built in 150BC during a time when Rome occupied Pompeii, but the city was not officially Roman. It wasn’t until the Social Wars in 89BC, when the Roman general Sulla captured Pompeii, that the city became officially Roman. Under Roman rule, the architecture of the city changed dramatically. Public buildings and spaces began to dominate the city. Roman veterans of the Social Wars were given property in Pompeii while the original home owners were driven out. This small temple was built as a monument to Emperor Augustus. It was largely destroyed in the earthquake and never repaired. One of the first construction projects after Pompeii became a Roman colony in 89 BC was the Forum Baths. Roman baths were all similar in design. The Forum Baths included a changing room (apodyterium), a warm room (tepidarium), a hot room (caldarium) and a cold room (frigidarium). The rooms seen in this tour were all part of the men’s section.The women’s area is closed. The baths were damaged in the 62AD earthquake but were quickly repaired unlike many other buildings. Apodyterium (changing room) Frigidarium (cold bath) Water poured in through a bronze spout on the far wall. Tepidarium (warm room) This room prepared bathers for the intense heat in the next room. Men would sit on the bronze benches around the brazier which held hot coals that heated the room. This next room, called a caldarium, was a hot room heated by an under-floor system called a hypocaust. At this end of the room is the hot bath called a laverum. On the opposite side is a marble basin called a labrum filled with cold water for pouring upon the bather’s head before he left the room. The inscription states that the marble basin was purchased for 5,250 sesterces. The walls were hollow and the floor was suspended over a furnace which allowed the hot air to circulate around the room. Instead of using soap, men would cover their bodies with oil and then use a curved metal tool to scrape away sweat and dirt. One of the many thermopoliums, or cafes, where hot and cold food was sold. There are about 150 of these snack bars scattered around Pompeii. It is believed that the thermopoliums were frequented by the poorer Pompeiians who lacked proper kitchens in their own homes. The jars in the counter-tops were used to hold food that was for sale. The words Cave Canum mean “Beware of the Dog.” The barred doorway is the entrance to the women’s bath. Most of the thermopoliums had marble surfaced counters. These millstones were made of basalt lava and driven by donkeys to grind the grain. Buying bread at the local bakery was just as popular back then as it is today. During this tour you will see several bakeries, or pistrinas. Each one has a timestamp in the video description. This building to the right is the House of M. Fabius Rufus and it was the largest private villa in Pompeii. There have been over 1,150 bodies discovered so far, out of an estimated 2,000 thought to have died. l The bottom section of the mill was called the basin, or meta. The mosaic floors in many of the houses have been covered to protect them from the elements. This road continues down past a necropolis to a Roman villa called the Villa of the Mysteries. The tombs in this necropolis were built between the founding of the colony in 80 BC and the eruption in 79 AD. It was common for Roman cemeteries to line the streets along the entrance to a city. There are eight gates leading into Pompeii and all but one include a necropolis. The Villa of Mysteries is just another 200 meters further down this road. It does not require a separate ticket for entry. You do have to exit the park however to enter the villa and to re-enter the park, you have to walk along the road back to the main entrance. This next villa was named after the tomb on the other side of the street but it is uncertain if there is any connection. Several bodies were found inside this villa which included 18 women. One skeleton held a cloth full of gold, silver and bronze coins. *Remember* If you are watching on a PC or Laptop, you can use keyboard shortcuts to navigate this video. “L” skips ahead 10 seconds while holding the forward arrow key is fast forward. When Pompeii became an official Roman colony in 80BC, Pompeii’s status in the region increased. Pompeii became a bit of a resort town for the officials in Rome who kept vacation homes here. Pompeii was also located next to a river as well as the Bay of Naples which helped it grow into a major trading port. After the 62AD earthquake which caused major damage, many residents feared future earthquakes and never returned to their homes. At the time, the people of Pompeii did not know that Mount Vesuvius was a volcano. The day before the eruption, Mt. Vesuvius began to show signs that it was waking up. By the time of the deadly eruption the next day, thousands of people had already evacuated the city. Around lunch time on August 24th, 79, Mt. Vesuvius blew its top spewing millions of tones of ash and rock in the atmosphere 12 miles high. The eruption lasted over 24 hours. This upcoming villa dates back to the Samnite period and was built around 180 BC. After the earthquake, the House of Sallust was turned into a hotel and a second story was added. During the early phase of the eruption, about 8 feet (2.5m) of pumice fell onto the city. This was followed by six pyroclastic flows of varying strength. A pyroclastic flow was the result of the material in the sky collapsing into a rushing surge of hot gas and volcanic rock. The first surge (S-1) was the one that buried nearby Herculaneum. Only three of the surges reached Pompeii with the first one being the most lethal. The temperature of the surge when it reached Pompeii was around 400°C (752°F). The victims were scorched by the heat of the gases in the surge while others suffocated on the volcanic ash cloud. The bodies were left encased in hardened ash and pumice. The Via di Mercuro is one of three cardi in Pompeii. A cardo is a Roman street that runs north to south. At the end of the road is a defense tower, known as Torre XI, along Pompeii’s outer wall. Of the 1150 bodies found so far, 394 were in the lower pumice deposits and 650 were found in the upper pyroclastic flows. Those who were killed in the first phase of the pumice deposits were inside buildings where the roofs and walls collapsed. When it was all over, the city was not completely buried. The tops of larger buildings were still exposed. Survivors and looters went back to salvage what valuables they could find by climbing through rooftops. Roman houses were designed so that you could see through the atrium and tablinum to the garden on the opposite side. Instead of a colonnaded garden (peristyle), this house had an indoor fountain. As part of the restoration process, a new roof was built in 1971, positioned at the original height. Tablinum (home office or reception room) Keep in mind how the previous house looked with high ceilings and open spaces; an atrium, followed by a tablinum and then a fountain. Atrium Tablinum Triclinium (dining room) Small garden This house was built on two levels with the garden below and three large overlooking reception rooms. On the opposite side of the impluvium, you can see the drain hole that leads to the underground cistern. The Arch of Caligula marks the beginning of Via di Mercurio. It was originally faced with marble and had a bronze equestrian statue of Caligula on top. Temple of Fortuna Augusta Via della Fortuna The next city block, or insula, is taken up by just one house, the House of the Faun. It is the largest house in Pompeii and covered an area of 32,000 square feet (2970 square meters). “Welcome” The house is named after a bronze statue of a faun found inside. This tablinum has a nice mosaic under the gravel which I think is there to protect it from the winter weather. The house is thought to have belonged to Sulla’s nephew. Sulla was the Roman general who captured Pompeii. This a replica of the original mosaic found here. The original, along with many other original paintings, mosaics and artifacts, can be seen in the Naples Archaeological Museum. To the left is the House of the Labyrinth which was not open. To the left is out outer wall of the House of the Vettii. It is a huge house but only the atrium is currently open to the public. *The name is Vettii not Veti. Here in the entrance (fauces) is a painting of the god of fertility, Priapus weighing his phallic member on a set of scales. The far end opens up into the peristyle which is currently closed. This is a fountain statue of Priapus, originally placed in the peristyle. This is one of the largest houses in Pompeii, and it does not include a tablinum. Summer Triclinium (Dining Room) Oecus (Living Room) A shrine to the household gods (a lararium). A Cubiculum (bedroom) When the robbers came back after the eruption, they left graffiti on walls saying “house dug.” The building here at the end is the Castellum Aquae. It supplied Pompeii with water and was connected to a nearby aquaduct. It is located at the highest point of the city (42m). The Castellum Aquae was damaged in the 62AD earthquake and did not appear to be in operation at the time of the eruption in 79AD. This wall and tower were built by the Samnites to defend their city against Rome. The Vesuvius gate collapsed during the 62AD earthquake and only a few blocks still remain. This is Via Stabiana, the main cardi of Pompeii.
The Cardo Maximus The area to the left has yet to be excavated. The entire process of excavation is destructive and archaeologists have left this area untouched for future, less destructive methods. Atrium Peristyle Exedra Cubiculum (bedroom)