Pompeii for the First-Time Visitor17th October 2017
With 170 acres to explore, and around 45 buildings now open to the public, it’s no surprise that many first-time visitors to the site consider Pompeii a daunting prospect. Stroll it alone, and it’s all too easy to miss the fine details that make a Pompeii holiday such a jaw-dropping introduction to Roman life circa AD 79: the mosaic reading “Beware of the Dog” at the House of the Tragic Poet; the “cat’s eyes” which helped citizens trace their way home beneath the moonlight; the bath houses, beautifully lit and preserved, which are hidden in unmarked passageways; the salacious graffiti in bars and on public walls – from “Atimetus got me pregnant”, to ripostes so rude we daren’t note them on this page.
What’s more, though it has been a popular tourist destination since the 18th century, Pompeii is still a working excavation site in many respects, with buildings being continuously preserved, restored, or revealed in all their splendour for the very first time – such as the recently opened House of the Orchard, with its intricate painted interiors; a ravishing garden bursting to life on ancient walls.
To get the most out of your first trip you’ll need plenty of time – we recommend a whole day at the very least – and either an encyclopaedic knowledge fed by plenty of prep and research, or, better still, connections with an expert guide who is familiar with the everchanging landscape. Many of our own Guide Lecturers have excavated at Pompeii themselves, creating an extra layer of inside knowledge to their tours. These specialists will proudly lead you along the best routes, avoiding the usual crowds, and will be eager to fill you in on all the marvellous minutiae displayed.
Once you’ve started to unlock this lava-stilled city, you’ll want to take the opportunity to boost your insight with a visit to Naples’ world-renowned National Archaeological Museum. This is a destination not to be missed, boasting many of Pompeii’s most significant finds, including the Alexander Mosaic, with its dynamic battle scenes, and the famed erotic artefacts of the Secret Cabinet.
However you choose to conduct your first trip, get ready to keep your eyes peeled, immerse yourself in your surroundings, and enter a unique world that is sure to summon you back again and again. There is plenty more to Andante's Pompeii tours to inspire those curious minds.