Weekend Breaks to Pompeii
Planning a short break to Pompeii? Check out Travel Library's recommended Top 10 Things To Do in Pompeii. It's a perfect companion for weekend city breaks to Pompeii. Once you've been you can add your own tips and suggestions to help other visitors.
Top 10 Things in Pompeii on a Short Break
Piazza Esedra, Pompeii. These 2,000 year old ruins are the best preserved in Europe and the most popular with visitors. There is so much to see at the excavations that 4 hours will only give you a sketchy look at all the different ruins of this area. The ruins are open from 8.30am 3.30pm and admission is $12
This is the best example of a villa and garden having been restored in Pompeii. It is also one of the most elegant of the noble villas and boasts a courtyard, paintings, and a black and red Pompeian dining room. The house was owned by the Vettii brothers, both of whom were wealthy merchants. There are still some quite explicit fertility drawings and statues to be seen in the villa; however, most of the material has been taken to the Archaeological Museum in Naples.
Porto Ercolano, Pompeii. This house is situated outside the walls of Pompeii and is the second most important villa in the area. What makes this house so special are its superb wall paintings, that show scenes relating to the sect of Dionysus (Bacchus); this was one of the sects that was common in Roman times; that is aside from its architectural features. You will also be able to see the Pompeian red featured in the background of most of the paintings.
The Forum is situated in the centre of town and although small was the heart of Pompeian life. Sixteen years before Vesuvius erupted, an earthquake damaged parts of the Forum quite severely and even before the final destruction of Pompeii, these were never repaired. The visitor to Pompeii will find three buildings surrounding the Forum; the basilica which is the largest single structure, Tempio di Apollo (Temple of Apollo) and the Tempio di Giove (Temple of Jupiter). Also to be found are the Stabian Thermae (baths) which are in relatively good condition, in fact amongst the best to survive from ancient times.
The theatre was built in the 5th century B.C. and was again rebuilt during the Hellenistic period from 200 to 150 B.C. The Romans again rebuilt it in the 1st century A.D. and it was the site of many brutal battles between gladiators and wild animals. The theatre is an open-air one which held about 5,000 spectators who were extremely bloodthirsty. It was not uncommon to hear them scream for the death of either the gladiators or the wild animals that fought in the arena.
Although the ancient bathhouse was discovered in 1980 it has only recently been open to the public. The bathhouse with its erotic wall paintings is 2,000 years old and was in pretty good condition when found. The bathhouse has some very decorative mosaics, with an indoor waterfall and eight frescoes around which there is still controversy. These panels show very vivid scenes of various sex acts and some scholars believe that they suggested advertising of the sexual serves that were available on the upper floors of the baths; other scholars argue that they were there for amusement.
Via della Salle 13, Pompeii. This is the best three-star hotel in Pompeii and is located in a street which is fairly hidden; however, this does help to alleviate a lot of noise. It has a very charming 1920s exterior, with warm wooden furniture inside. The atmosphere is one of friendly attention and the breakfast is warm cornettos, which can be a bit boring, although if you are going to be tramping around the ruins of Pompeii, which are about three blocks away, you dont want to be overfull either. The bedrooms are comfortably furnished with small bathrooms. The hotel offers a restaurant, lounge and babysitting facilities.
For more info www.villalaura.it
This is the largest house in Pompeii and covers almost an entire city block. Casa del Fauno acquired its name because a bronze statue of a dancing faun was found here. This house boasts four dining rooms and two large enclosed gardens, which protected the mosaic of the Battle of Alexander the Great; this is now housed in the Archaeological Museum in Naples.
Piazzo Bartolo Longo, Pompeii. This is one of the best restaurants in Campania; and is definitely Pompeiis leading restaurant with a decor that includes excellent features of ancient Pompeii, as well as bright frescoes and mosaics. You can have dinner in the beautiful dining room or on the sidewalk with views of the basilica. The menu is Campanian, Mediterranean and includes dishes such as spaghetti with baby clams (vongole), some excellent fish dishes, sage flavoured veal with ham (saltimbocca) and dishes which are based on recipes that were used in ancient Rome. The restaurant is open Tues Sat 12.30 3pm and 8 11.30pm, Sun 12.30 3pm
Via Roma. This seafood restaurant is situated in the centre of town near the basilica and is a good choice for excellent seafood dishes. The restaurant boasts two spacious dining rooms. Although they specialise in seafood, the pasta e fagioli with mussels is superb and the chefs special rigatoni, with tomatoes and prosciutto is also very tempting.
They have a large array of fish or you can choose one of the live lobsters right out of the tank. The restaurant is open daily from noon 10.30pm and reservations are definitely recommended.
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