If you visited Pompeii in the past, don't think for a minute you can take it off your bucket list! Excavations and incredible discoveries occur almost monthly, and some of the most spectacular finds are recent ones, like this fabulous thermopolium:
Explore Pompeii with a Through Eternity Tour day trip (Travel to be Inspired)
Today Through Eternity Tours founder Rob Allyn and I chatted about the recent magnificent finds at the archaeological site in Pompeii, south of Naples.
Pompeii is one of the many places Through Eternity Tours offers day trip travel itineraries with outstanding guides.
Rob founded the company 20+ years ago with the goal to create great travel itineraries: "travel to be inspired" is the company's motto.
Through Eternity Tours has a few different Pompeii day trip itineraries plus lots of tours and day trips to other exquisite spots throughout Italy, including Rome, Florence, the Amalfi coast, and more.
The company has also expanded overseas to other European locations, including Barcelona, Istanbul, Paris and London.
Find Through Eternity Tours on their YouTube channel, podcast, blog, and on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
What is Pompeii?
How to get to Pompeii
You can get to Pompeii for a day trip on your own, but much simpler is to join a tour that will take you right to the excavation site, door to door. If you're staying in Rome, you can join a day trip; if you're staying on the Amalfi coast, you can also join a day trip from here.
I recommend Through Eternity Tours: their guides are fabulous, and they take care of every detail including transportation, tickets and guide.
How to reach Pompeii for a day trip on your own
One option is to drive, but it's much simpler if you go by public transportation, usually by train.
Here's the good news: next year there will be a direct train to Pompeii!
ArtNews says a high-speed railway that will connect the ancient cities of Rome and Pompeii is currently in the works. It is expected to open in 2024 and will bolster tourism.
A new train station and transport hub close to Pompeii will be part of the new $38 million development plan, part of the Great Pompeii Project, an initiative launched by the European Union in 2012. The hub will be a new stop on the high-speed train line between Rome, Naples, and Salerno.
With nearly 3 million visitors to the archaeological park in 2022, Pompeii will now be directly connected to Rome, whose Colosseum, by comparison, saw roughly 7 million visitors last year.Though the new train line will bypass some stops on the Circumvesuviana line, it will reach the Villa Dei Misteri stop, which connects to such often overlooked archaeological sites as Ercolano, Oplontis, and Stabiae.
Some of the recent, amazing discoveries in Pompeii
A 2,000-year-old ancient Roman dry cleaner was unearthed by archaeologists at the Pompeii Archaeological Park in Italy, the Miami Herald reports.
Archaeologists have been excavating a previously unexplored section of the site at Insula 10 in Regio IX along the via di Nola. The land is sizable—“about the size of a city block,” per the Miami Herald—and was used for farming until it became part of the archaeological park in 2015.
The team uncovered the ridges and upper floors of several buildings, including a house that was converted into a fullonica, or a laundry shop, according to a release from the archaeological park on Monday. In these shops, launderers would have been paid to wash people’s clothes.
Ancient Romans used human and animal urine to wash their clothes. The urine would have been collected in pots along the city streets. The ammonia in the urine would counteract dirt and grease stains. The clothes would be washed in vats of water and urine, and subsequently stomped on by the workers. The garments would then be rinsed and hung to dry.
This is not the first facility of this kind to be found within the ancient city. The Fullonica of Stephanus, which started as a house and was converted into a laundry shop, was identified in 1912.
The House of Vetti reopened following restoration
After a 20-year refurbishment, an ancient Roman house adorned with erotic frescos has now reopened in the city of Pompeii.
The 2nd century BCE home was owned by former slaves Aulus Vettius Restitutus and Aulus Vettius Conviva, who amassed their wealth by selling wine.
A fresco panel at the entrance, for which the house is perhaps most known, depicts the god of fertility Priapus, whose massive phallus is shown weighing on a scale counter-balanced on the opposite side with a loaded money bag. Priapus is a Greek god believed to provide fertility, good fortune, and protection.
In the dining room, dubbed the Hall of Pentheus, another fresco depicts the Greek hero Hercules crushing two snakes as a child—a testament to his early heroic power.
The owners used the frescos in their home to recall Greek mythology as a way to legitimize their new status as Roman elites.
Thermopolium discovery - an ancient street food stall
ArtNews shared this: The latest major finding in Pompeii is a street food stall—or a thermopolium—that dates to 79 C.E. (see thermopolium photo above)
Decorated with painted images of a nymph, a rooster, ducks, and a dog on a leash, the snack bar was found along with what are likely the remains of snails, sheep, fish, and other foods on offer to passersby. It is among 80 other thermopolia unearthed at Pompeii, and researchers have learned about the eating and living habits of residents of the ancient city from excavations of such enterprises.The food stall had been partially studied and uncovered in 2019, with this most recent phase of the excavation revealing the frescoes of the animals butchered and sold. Massimo Osanna, director of the Archaeological Park of Pompeii, said in a statement that this thermopolium gives “another insight into daily life at Pompeii” and marks the “first time an area of this type has been excavated in its entirety.”
According to the Times, archaeologists have already determined that one vessel at the thermopolium contained wine, and they also found the skeleton of a mouse in the stall. The newspaper reports that the researchers will analyze the contents of two more jars uncovered at the thermopolium, though archaeologist Chiara Corbino said that they likely held two dishes with various meats.
“We will analyze the contents to determine the ingredients and better understand what kind of dish it was,” Corbino told the Times, adding that the food stall probably offered a stew with snails, fish, and sheep.
The remains of two men found in a villa in Pompeii, Italy
ArtNews also shared this 2020 discovery: Two newly unearthed victims of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius have offered fresh insights into the ancient disaster. The skeletal remains of what archeologists tentatively believe were a rich Pompeian landowner and his young male slave were discovered during the excavation of a villa on the outskirts of Pompeii, Italy.
The two, frozen in time while likely attempting to escape the eruption, was called an “incredible font of knowledge” by Massimo Osanna, the director of the Archaeological Park of Pompeii, which operates under the jurisdiction of the Italian Culture Ministry. Osanna added that the find was also “a touching discovery of great emotional impact.”
Osanna told the New York Times that the two were wearing woolen clothing, which supports the belief that Vesuvius erupted in October of 79 A.D., as opposed to August of that year, as had been previously theorized. The two men are believed to have survived the initial fall of ash, only to succumb to a volcanic blast that released clouds of scorching gases the next morning.
By pouring liquid chalk into the cavities left by human remains in the ash, archeologists have also managed to create more than 100 plaster casts of Pompeiians in their final moments. The haunting casts have occupied a place in the popular imagination since the technique was refined in the 1800s.
Civita Giuliana, the villa where the two were discovered, is the site of numerous significant discoveries, including an ancient purebred horse with a bronze-plated military saddle that was found in 2018.
Mosaic floor in the House of Orion
Campanian tour guide Evacri wrote this about the House of Orion mosaic floor:"First excavated in the 18th century, a domus on the Via di Nola, the House of Jupiter, was named for a small painting of the Roman god found in the home’s lararium. The most recent Pompeii excavations have returned to this domus to obtain a fuller picture of its architecture, decor, and history. Archaeologists uncovered a stunning and highly unusual mosaic of an enigmatic mythological episode. The central figure was later identified as Orion, a mosaic showing a winged half-man, half-scorpion with hair ablaze, suspended over a coiled snake. “As far as we knew, the figure was unknown to classical iconography,” says Prof. Massimo Osanna. Eventually he identified the character as the hunter Orion, son of the sea god Neptune, during his transformation into a constellation. “There is a version of the myth in which Orion announces he will kill every animal on Earth,” Osanna explains. “The angered goddess Gaia sends a scorpion to kill him, but Jupiter, god of sky and thunder, gives Orion wings and, like a butterfly leaving the chrysalis, he rises above Earth—represented by the snake—into the firmament, metamorphosing into a constellation.”
Many of the extraordinary finds from Pompeii are now in the National Archaeological Museum in Naples
Some of the most extraordinary finds from Pompeii have been moved to the National Archaeological Museum in Naples, including this fabulous fresco, Painter at Work.
If you would like to explore Pompeii to its fullest then don't miss the National Archaeological Museum in Naples.
More places to visit in the Campania region
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If you want to visit Naples for just a day, here's a great itinerary for an overview of the city.
Naples and Pompeii are both in the exquisite Campania region full of exquisite places well worth a visit.
Think about the Campanian archipelago and its islands like beautiful Capri.
The best of Positano
Heading south of Naples along the renowned Amalfi Coast Drive you reach breathtaking Positano.
I've got you covered for everything you need in Positano: a Foodie's Ultimate Guide to Eating in Positano, the best place to stay, and private boat tours from Positano.
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