Things to do in Pompeii

Things to do in  Pompeii

Rise from the ashes

No other place in the world offers a more immersive experience of life in an ancient Roman metropolis than Pompeii. Buried during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius almost 2,000 years ago, the once thriving city’s villas, shops, temples, and baths remain frozen in time. The UNESCO-listed archaeological site is a popular day trip from Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast, often paired with a tour of nearby Herculaneum, an excursion to the top of Mt. Vesuvius, or a winery visit and tasting on the mountain slopes.

Top 7 attractions in Pompeii


Tiny Ravello, an idyllic village along the Amalfi Coast, has a long history and vibrant cultural life. Founded by Romans in the sixth century, this picturesque clifftop town is today a haven for travelers drawn to its views, villas, and gardens. Home to Villa Rufolo, which has hosted luminaries from Richard Wagner to Jacqueline Kennedy, and Villa Cimbrone, known for its panoramic views, Ravello is an elegant respite from the crowds along the coast.More

Pompeii Archaeological Site

One of the most captivating archaeological sites in the world, Pompeii is a city frozen in time. The ancient Roman metropolis was sealed under a layer of volcanic stone by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79, which preserved it for millennia. Today, you can explore the ghostly ruins, including temples, baths, villas, and shops.More

Villa Cimbrone Gardens

One of the most spectacular views of the Amalfi Coast is from Villa Cimbrone’s Terrace of Infinity, a dramatic overlook lined with classical busts and offering sweeping panoramas of the coastline. Stroll through the lush gardens—replete with shaded paths, manicured flower beds, and hidden pavilions—to this iconic belvedere.More

Temple of Apollo (Tempio di Apollo)

Pompeii is perhaps the most important archaeological site in the world, and among Italy's most-visited attractions. The sixth-century-BC Temple of Apollo (Tempio di Apollo) overlooking the forum is one of the oldest religious buildings in this ancient Roman city and a highlight of any tour of these enormous ruins.More

Ravello Duomo (Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta e San Pantaleone)

With its white facade and simple bell tower, the Ravello Duomo (Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta e San Pantaleone) is modest by Italian standards. Highlights are the inscribed bronze doors and a remarkable pulpit, supported by six marble lions and adorned with bird and dragon mosaics. The chapel also boasts an ampoule of St. Pantaleone’s blood, said to liquefy each year on the anniversary of his martyrdom.More

House of the Vettii

In the archaeological wonderland of Pompeii, the House of the Vettii stands out for its well-preserved frescoes, seemingly as vivid as when they were first painted almost two millennia ago. This Roman domus is famous for a risqué depiction of Priapus—Greek god of fertility—symbolizing the economic prosperity of the home’s merchant owners.More

Great Theatre of Pompeii (Teatro Grande)

Pompeii’s Great Theatre is a grand 2nd-century-BC performance space with seating for up to 5,000 spectators. It has acoustics so precise that voices from the stage carry naturally to the highest seats to this day. The first large public building to be excavated in the ancient city, the largely intact theater continues to host classical plays and other performances.More

Top activities in Pompeii

Pompeii Small Group tour with an Archaeologist
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2-hour Private Guided Tour of Pompeii

2-hour Private Guided Tour of Pompeii

per group
Naples Shore Excursion Mt Vesuvius and Pompeii Day Trip
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Pompeii and Herculaneum Small Group tour with an Archaeologist
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Explore Pompeii with an Archaeologist
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Pompeii, Horses & Wine

Pompeii, Horses & Wine

Pompeii Private Tour from Naples Cruise, Port or Hotel pick-up
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Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius Small Group Tour
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Private Excursion to Pompeii and Amalfi Coast from Naples Cruise Port or Hotel
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All about Pompeii

When to visit

Pompeii is open year-round but faces massive tourist crowds in the Italian high travel season—roughly July to mid-September—when it's also expensive and swelteringly hot. Visit in late spring or early fall for convenient transportation connections and more pleasant weather. Other considerations: Pompeii occasionally hosts summer concerts and theater festivals, and can be nearly empty in fall and winter—it's a treat to walk the ancient streets with few tourists in sight.

Getting around

From Naples, Pompeii can be reached on Trenitalia trains and the Circumvesuviana commuter rail from the Napoli Centrale train station. These trains run frequently throughout the day and make the trip in about 30 minutes—the Pompeii Archeological Park is within walking distance from the Pompeii train station. The Campania Express train makes fewer stops while serving tourist destinations like Pompeii and Herculaneum. To reach Pompeii from Rome, driving or guided day trips are best.

Traveler tips

Pompeii is among the most known—and visited—archeological sites on the planet, but visitors should keep in mind that there are other worthwhile ancient ruins nearby. Herculaneum Archeological Park, which is smaller and usually less crowded than Pompeii, faced the same volcanic fate as Pompeii but lies farther north along the coast toward Naples. The ancient ruins of Paestum are older than Pompeii's and have some of the best preserved Greek temples anywhere.

Local Currency
Euro (€)
Time Zone
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A local’s pocket guide to Pompeii

Rebecca Winke

Italy-based writer Rebecca has taken countless visiting friends and family to walk the streets of Pompeii over the decades, and the ancient city offers up new marvels on each visit.

The first thing you should do in Pompeii is...

get yourself a guide. Printed, audio, or live…you’ll need something to shed light on what you are seeing as there is very little information posted once you’re inside.

A perfect Saturday in Pompeii...

begins as soon as the archeological site opens in the morning so you can enjoy the ruins before the heat and crowds become unbearable. By lunchtime, you’ll have earned a hearty meal at one of the nearby restaurants.

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

testing the acoustics at the Great Theater, which never fails to delight. Position yourself at center stage and hear how your voice is projected perfectly to the very back rows, just like performers 2,000 years ago.

To discover the "real" Pompeii...

watch archaeologists at work. Only about two-thirds of the ancient city has been unearthed, and new discoveries are continuously coming to light at this active archaeological dig.

For the best view of the city...

stand at the far end of the forum and gaze down the length of what is left of the colonnade to admire Mt. Vesuvius on the horizon, a reminder that another devastating eruption could bury this area again.

One thing people get wrong...

is thinking that you have to be a history buff to appreciate Pompeii. With its street food stands, political graffiti, and other vibrant signs of life, this ancient city captures the imagination of all visitors (especially with a good guide).


People Also Ask

Why do tourists go to Pompeii?

Tourists visit Pompeii to explore the ruins of an ancient Roman city preserved under volcanic debris for centuries after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. Visitors can walk freely among the ruins, which include a forum, one of the oldest-surviving Roman amphitheaters, and upscale villas with well-preserved frescoes.

Is a guided tour of Pompeii worth it?

Yes, guided tours of Pompeii are worthwhile. Tours cover a lot of ground in a few hours and guides are often archeologists or historians who are able to give layered perspectives on the archeological site, Mount Vesuvius, and the history of the region.

How long do you need for Pompeii?

At minimum, you need four hours. The fastest tours speed through the main sights in about two hours, and one-way transportation from Naples or the Amalfi Coast requires at least one hour. Pompeii is among the largest archeological sites in the world, and seeing everything requires more than one day.

What should you not miss in Pompeii?

Don’t miss the Garden of the Fugitives, holding plaster castes of Pompeiian citizens frozen in time during the volcanic eruption of AD 79. Other top sights include the forum, aka the heart of the ancient town; the amphitheater, which once hosted gladiator games; and the Villa of the Mysteries with its ancient frescoes.

What was the most interesting thing found in Pompeii?

The frescoes in the Villa of the Mysteries, showing a bride’s initiation into a cult, are among the most well-preserved ancient Roman paintings in the world. Also of interest: the floor mosaics in the House of the Faun and erotic art in the National Archaeological Museum of Naples.

Is Pompeii still buried in ash?

By most accounts, about one-third of Pompeii is buried in volcanic debris today. Archeologists continually unearth discoveries, from buildings to historical artifacts and human remains. Volcanic ash and pumice stone completely covered the city through the mid-18th century, acting as a preservative and keeping it intact for nearly 2,000 years.

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