What to see and photograph in Pompei
The UNESCO archaeological site of Ancient Pompeii is the city which was buried by Vesuvius. Modern day Pompei has a significant cathedral and lots of souvenir shops and restaurants. Things to see in Pompei are;
- Amphitheater of Pompeii
- Theater Area
- Forum Thermal Baths
- Streets of Pompeii
- Houses of Pompeii
- Temples of Pompeii
- Mummified bodies
- Pompei Cathedral
I stayed at Hotel Forum opposite the main entrance to Ancient Pompeii. I recommend this location if you plan on visiting Pompeii early morning or late evening when it’s quiet.
Amphitheater of Pompeii
The Amphitheater of Pompeii is the oldest surviving Roman amphitheater in the world. It was completely buried by the Vesuvius eruption which maintained it so well. It’s around 150 years older than the Colosseum in Rome. The capacity was around 12,000 spectators. You’re free to enter the Amphitheater as many times as you wish once inside Ancient Pompeii. Read my in depth visit to the Amphitheater of Pompeii.
Adjacent to the Amphitheater is the Palestra. If you needed the bathroom whilst watching an event in the amphitheater, you’d have to cross over to the Palestra. In addition if you wanted to buy snacks you would buy them here. This was part of the modern crowd control design of the amphitheater. The Palestra was also used for gymnastics and wrestling events.
At the opposite side of Ancient Pompeii to the Amphitheater is the theater area. This area consists of 3 theaters, the Large Theater (above), the Odeon and the Quadriporticum. This area of Pompeii is swamped with huge tour groups. If you wish for a picture with no people in it, I recommend visiting early morning or late evening. In addition you should try and visit Pompeii off season. An advantage of visiting when it’s quiet is that it’s a lot more pleasant and peaceful to walk around. All 3 of these theaters would hold gladiatorial performances. To summarize, the Romans loved to watch a live show! How many cities nowadays have so many arenas and stadiums?
Forum Thermal Baths
As well as loving to watch live performances, the Romans also loved to take a bath. The thermal baths area was split into sections for male and female. In addition, hot water was also fed through pipes in the walls to heat the building. Of course the wealthier Romans would have a private bath in their home, but for the regular Romans, this was where they came to bathe.
The Streets of Pompeii
Walking through the streets of Pompeii is a rewarding experience. Photographers will love capturing the unique streets surrounded by ruins. Early morning and late evening is the best time for shooting the streets. Combine this with the off season early sunset and late sunrise and you can make some beautiful street photography. It’s important to be patient, I met one American guy who told me he’d been waiting 30 minutes for a street to clear!
The Houses of Pompeii
There are several famous houses which you’ll read about before your visit. The most visited houses in Ancient Pompeii are house of the Fawn, the Vetti, the Tragic Poet, the Surgeon and the houses of pleasure. In addition to visiting these houses, Pompeii is a huge town and you are free to stroll around and visit several houses. You’ll be rewarded exploring, with unique frescoes, house and garden layouts. You may even be inspired on how to decorate and design your house when you return home! They still use the Amphitheater of Pompeii as an example of stadium design today.
Temples of Pompeii
Pompeii is home to several temples. The most important temples are those of Apollo and Jupiter (above). The Temple of Jupiter is also known as the Capitolium. In addition to these temples there are a few more around the city worth checking out. You should visit the temples of the Public Lares, Vespasian, Isis and Fortuna Augusta.
You’ve probably heard of, or seen a documentary about the residents of Pompeii suddenly dying. They were killed by either the fumes of the eruption or by extreme heat. What’s certain is they died long before Pompeii was buried. It’s possible to see some of the mummified bodies of Pompeii. There are mummified bodies in the Forum Granary. Additionally you can find some outside the Amphitheater entrance to Ancient Pompeii.
The official name for Pompei Cathedral is the Pontifical Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary of Pompei. It’s named after a painting inside called ‘Our Lady of the Rosary’ which was brought from Naples. The interior is very impressive so it’s worth visiting. Around Pompei town you’ll find lots of good value restaurants and souvenir shops. It’s definitely worth visiting the new Pompei in addition to Ancient Pompeii.
How to get from Pompei to San Marino via Rimini
I took a night Flixbus from Pompei to Rimini. This left Pompei at 11 pm and arrived in Rimini at 8 am the following morning. Traveling at night is a good idea because you save money on a hotel. The modern Flixbus bus is spacious and you should have no problem sleeping. In addition you can keep your phone charged ready to use when you arrive in Rimini and San Marino.
From Rimini there are regular buses which take you up the hill to San Marino. These buses leave from opposite Rimini train station. There’s a huge San Marino sign at the bus stop and a timetable.