Things to do in Pompeii

By Simran

Pompeii, near the Bay of Naples, is a well-preserved site with ancient ruins worth exploring.

This elegant Roman City was once a thriving kingdom, buried in the deep history of Mount Vesuvius’ catastrophic eruption in 79 AD. 

Pompeii has much to offer, from historical landmarks, traditional homes, museums, and theaters to Roman baths, shops, and plenty of graffiti wall art to admire. 

Begin your journey with the Villa of the Mysteries and end it with the fantastic Roman frescoes. 

Explore the ancient ruins and unearth the secrets of Pompeii, a mesmerizing journey back in time. 

Discover fun things to do in Pompeii, like wandering through well-preserved streets, admiring stunning frescoes and paintings

Also marveling at grand villas like the House of Loreio Tiburtino and the House of Venusis is what you would love to experience on your trip to Pompeii. 

Engage in an exploration of the Amphitheatre and Temple of Apollo, and soak in Pompeii’s rich history at the Archaeological Museum. 

Take advantage of the opportunity to relish authentic Italian cuisine in local trattorias and cafes. 

With a treasure trove of activities, fun things to do in Pompeii promise an unforgettable experience steeped in ancient wonders.

Visit the Amphitheatre

The Amphitheatre is the world’s oldest surviving Roman amphitheater. 

The Amphitheater, which once seated 20,000 people, was a popular gathering place for the people of Pompeii. 

You can take a seat and travel back in time because the top section of the Amphitheater has been preserved. 

Because the Amphitheater is located at the far end of Pompeii, fewer tourists visit it, especially in the morning and late afternoon, giving the arena an eerie feel.

Opening hours:

From November to March, the hours of operation are 9 am to 5 pm, with the last entry at 3.30 pm. 

From April to November, the hours of operation are 9 am to 7 pm, with the last entrance at 5.30 pm.

Note: Visit the attraction early or late afternoon when the crowds are lighter.

Purchase your Pompeii tickets online today and set on an amazing journey through history. 
Walk in the footsteps of gladiators and experience the spectacles that once graced this iconic arena!

Investigate the Pompeii Brothels

Rome was a thriving place for the wealthy, with luxurious indulgences like pleasure houses. 

The reality of the sex workers is quite tragic, even though the people of Pompeii portrayed these brothels as an erotic treat. 

Many of the workers were enslaved people living in cramped quarters. 

Although it has a heartbreaking history, these structures are still worth exploring. 

These brothels have been beautifully preserved, with erotic art painted on the walls depicting the services offered to the historic community.

Opening hours:

From November to March, the hours of operation are 9 am to 5 pm, with the last entry at 3.30 pm. 

From April to November, the hours of operation are 9 am to 7 pm, with the last entrance at 5.30 pm.

It is located in Via dell’Abbondanza, near the town center, at the intersection of two side roads.

Note: Lupanar, the only confirmed brothel, is one of Pompeii’s most visited houses.

View the Apollo Temple

The Temple of Apollo is a Roman temple dedicated to the Greek and Roman God Apollo. 

The temple, one of the oldest places of worship, occupied a very strategic position along the path that leads to the Marina Gate, which leads to the city’s heart. 

The temple was renovated between the third and second centuries and adopted the Neronian architectural style. 

During its heyday, gladiator games and theatrical performances honoring Apollo and his sister, Diana, were held here.

Opening hours:

It operates daily from 8 am to 8 pm.

Note: Allow at least 3 hours to visit the archaeological site to soak in the history and admire the frescoes.

Plan a trip to Mount Vesuvius 

It would help if you visited the volcano that gave Pompeii its modern-day fame near the Pompeii ruins.

While Pompeii provides a window into the past, climbing Mount Vesuvius offers a unique perspective on the catastrophic natural disaster that covered the city in ash.

This location is nevertheless on our list because of the breathtaking view from the summit. 

Stroll to the crater’s rim to observe the mountain’s smoke. Also, you can enjoy the beautiful vistas of the Bay of Naples.

The walk sometimes involves some effort, despite not being a challenging route. 

We recommend booking a day trip or tour guided tour to Mount Vesuvius 

Each day trip is carefully planned to accommodate a variety of interests and preferences, guaranteeing that everyone has a delightful time. 

You can choose from the day trips to Mount Vesuvius below. 

Opening hours:

It is open to visitors from 9 am to 5 pm, with the last entrance allowed at 3 pm.  

Visit the Forum Baths

The baths, located near the Forum, have been beautifully preserved. 

While exploring the bath, learn how they heated the baths back when they were in use.

While these baths are small compared to the other bath ruins in Pompeii, they are arguably the most elegant. 

Men and women had separate sections in the forum baths, as well as separate entrances.

If you want to learn more about the history of the Forum Baths, take a guided tour of Pompeii and visit the Pompeii Forum. 

Opening hours:

It is open from 9 am to 7 pm from Monday to Sunday.

Visit the Vettii House

The House of Vetti, excavated between 1894 and 1895, was one of Pompeii’s richest and most famous houses. 

The house belonged to the Aulus Vettius Conviva and Aulus Vettius Restitutus brothers, who became wealthy through trade.

During the Augustan era, they restructured the house.

The decorated rooms look out onto the open courtyard, which features statues with water jets. 

The main productive activities at the time took place in the living room, such as selling wine, cleaning clothes, making jewelry, and creating perfumes.

The House of Vetti reopens to the public in 2023 after being closed for 20 years, except for a partial reopening in 2016.

Take a moment to admire the graffiti depicting the prostitute Eutychus near the entrance.

Opening hours: 

It is open daily from 08.30 am to 07.30 pm

Visit the Pompeii Forum

The Pompeii Forum was the center of Pompeii’s religious, political, and cultural life during its heyday. 

The Forum spanned an area of 157 mt x 38 mt. 

It housed important public, commercial, and religious buildings frequented by the common folk, such as the Temple of Jupiter. 

The city council met in the Curia to discuss municipal matters, and the Comitium was an open space for public gatherings and political speeches.

The once-bustling marketplace’s ruins now offer visitors a unique glimpse into life during the Roman Empire.

Visit the Temple of Jupiter, a beautiful Roman architecture and mythology example.

Opening hours 

It operates daily from 9 am to 5 pm.

Explore the Stabian Baths

The Stabian Baths are the oldest and largest of Pompeii’s five public baths. Their original construction began in 125 BC. 

The bath complex has been remodeled several times since then, up until the eruption of Vesuvius. 

The Stabian baths, like all typical Roman baths, had separate men’s and women’s showers. 

The baths provided a changing room, a cold room, a warm room, a hot room, and a swimming pool. 

However, there was no cold room in the women’s chambers. They were instead given a cold water basin. 

Visiting the baths not only provides insight into daily life in ancient Rome.

Opening hours 

Open daily from 9 am to 7 pm.

Note: Explore the site to see impressive frescoes, incredible engineering, and incredible methods for mixing cold and hot water.

Take a look at the Villa of Mysteries

The Roman Villa of Mysteries is a well-preserved rural Roman estate with colorful frescoes and intricate mosaics. 

The most famous are those in Room 5, which are thought to depict a bride’s initiation into a Greco-Roman cult. 

Its prominence peaked during the Augustan period, dating back to the 2nd century BC. 

After a devastating earthquake in 62 AD, it fell into disrepair and was converted into a farmhouse devoted primarily to producing and trading wine.

Giuseppe Spano conducted an archaeological excavation that uncovered this hidden villa in 1909-1910. 

It miraculously escaped significant damage from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, with its walls, ceilings, and, most notably, frescoes still standing for all to see!

Opening hours:

Open daily from 9 am to 5 pm.

Note: The villa is located on the city’s outskirts and is about a half-hour walk away. The breathtaking scenery in the area is well worth the walk.

Pay a visit to the House of the Small Fountain

The House of Small Fountain is small, but it is full of beauty. 

It was once home to a wealthy family, surrounded by stunning architecture, preserved frescoes, and a famous fountain. 

The fountain is a significant reason why tourists come here. 

The fountain is an excellent example of simple yet beautiful Roman architecture, with colorful mosaics, shells, and a small bronze statue. 

It demonstrated the incredible detail Pompeians used to put into their work and was a popular fashion feature in ancient times.

Opening hours 

Open daily from 9 am to 5 pm.

Note: Look at the building’s sloped roof to see how rainwater was used to fill the fountain, which was an extremely innovative idea then.

Take a look around the Palaestra

The Latin word for ‘gym’ is Palaestra. The Large Palaestra comprises a large open-air square surrounded by porticoes. 

A high wall surrounds the area. Three sides of the courtyard were lined with century-old plane trees. 

The molds of the roots are all that remains of the trees today. The pool is located in the center.

The courtyard was used as a gym for young Pompeii citizens’ physical and intellectual training during the Augustan period at the beginning of the 1st century AD. 

Today, the Palaestra houses a permanent exhibition of frescoes and artifacts from the Moregine Triclinium Complex.

Opening hours:

Hours of operation are from 8.30 am to 7.30 pm daily. 

Note: Look closely at the Palestra’s stone foundations and bricked upper walls covered in mortar.

Investigate Pompeii’s Great Theatre

The Pompeii Theatre is located in the city’s southwest corner. 

The area comprised three main structures: the Great Theatre, the Odeon (small theatre), and the Amphitheatre. 

The city’s theatres served as a source of entertainment and a meeting place. The Great Theatre in the South could seat approximately 5000 people. 

Tragedies and comedies, dance and music, and political meetings were all performed here.

The theatre, built around the middle of the 2nd century BC, was the first large public building liberated from the eruption’s deposits. 

They have extensively restored it in the Roman style.

Opening hours:

Operates daily from 7 am to 7 pm. 

Note: The grand staircase that leads from the theatre to the Triangular Forum and its Temples of Minerva and Hercules, depicting the theatre’s original religious role, may be visible.

Take a stroll through the Fugitives’ Garden

The Garden of the Fugitives is an old vineyard on Pompeii’s outskirts. 

It is now the final resting place for thirteen victims trying to flee during the eruption. 

The plaster casts depict the dramatic events after the eruption, as people attempted but failed to flee.

This location resurrects the horror of the tragic death of Pompeii’s inhabitants. 

The bodies can be seen lying on the ground in various positions, either taken out by the forces around them or cowering in fear.

Opening hours:

It opens daily from 9 am to 3.30 pm.

Note: Go first thing in the morning when the attraction opens and enjoy being alone in the Garden.

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Featured Image: Cole Ciarlello on Unsplash

About the author

Simran is adventurous and loves exploring new places. She constantly looks for undiscovered gems in the most secluded of the places.