Unfortunately, time didn’t spare the city of ancient civilizations. Nearly none of them survived until nowadays except in the form of certain ruins giving you but a partial knowledge of how people lived several thousand years ago. Pompeii is quite a different story.
In 79 A.D. there was the eruption of Vesuvius. The tragedy did lead to destruction of the city, however, it preserved it as it was 2 thousand years ago. Everything had been preserved there – the layout of streets, wells and drain systems, and houses that you could literally furnish and live in.
You need see all this for yourself, so if you are going to spend you vacations in the south of Italy (Capri, Amalfi Coast, Sorrento, Calabria), you should make Pompeii a mandatory point of your touring plan. You`d better reserve a day for it.
In the course of excavations there were discovered a lot of rare artifacts, various sculp-tures and some other things. Most of them are exhibited at the Naples Museum. You may also see the replicas of the exhibits in the open-air museum of Pompeii, however, the value of the city isn`t in a set of some artifacts be it even the most valuable ones. The main thing is the wholeness of the city, making it possible to understand the lifestyle of people who lived there two thousand years ago.
The city was separated into different quarters by social status of the residents. There were quarters with closely spaced small huts of poor folk. The other streets were built with spacious mansions of nobility with enclosed gardens. On the south of the city there closely located the Odeon (for gladiator performances) and a school for young people. Both buildings are in perfect condition.
The trifles of life are the greatest attraction of Pompeii. For example, the owner of one house had an evil dog, and he told about it with the appropriate warning on doorstep of the house (mosaic inscriptions like «Cave Canem» became one of the symbols of Pompeii). In a well-to-do quarter there is a tablet on one of the houses announcing that a Caecilia «wants to let the house and looks for tenants».
In a poor quarter there is phallus like pointer on one of the houses indicating the location of the nearest bawdy house. And there is quite a number of similar trifles in Pompeii, so if you are not without imagination, you can easily reconstruct the life of common Romans (with the same concerns as ours), and you tour of ancient Pompeii would be really exciting.
You may get special pleasure from various graffiti on the walls of different houses. And in many cases the graffiti are well preserved. They depict flowers, plants, and landscapes, although erotic graffiti are most popular there. You should visit the ‘House of Vetti’ to see the famous graffiti of Priapus (a man with a huge penis to ward off the evil spirits from the home). However, there are many erotic frescoes in some other houses. And in the ‘House of the Faun’ there was partially preserved the famous Alexander Mosaic depicting the battle be-tween Alexander the Great and Darius, which is considered to be a masterpiece of art.
In addition to everyday life of the residents of Pompeii, you may also get acquainted with religious and state buildings. For example, near the entrance of Pompeii, so-called Sea Gate, there located a well-preserved Forum, the center of any Roman city. Nearby there are the temples of Apollo and Jupiter. You can also see the look of Roman theatre in Pompeii.