Pompeii never ceases to amaze. After the disgraceful collapses and neglect of recent years, the archeological site is breathing new life thanks to the ‘Great Pompeii Project,’ an ongoing restoration and excavation work funded by the European Union and Italy, which, since 2012, has allowed the reopening of 38 buildings.
Here’s a day itinerary that will allow you to take in new discoveries and see the effects of the restoration work.
Start at the Forum (Regio VII), which used to be the center of community life in Pompeii, and the site of the grocery market. On one side is the Granary, which used to be cereals’ storage place, and is now an archeological depot/museum, where human casts of the victims, as well as the casts of a dog and a tree, are on display.
Continue to Regio VI, where you’ll find the typical domus (houses of the upper classes), such as lavish Casa dei Vettii (House of the Vettii), with finely decorated rooms and a garden, and newly reopened houses such as the unusually-shaped Casa dell’Ancora (House of the Anchor). Its garden has been recreated, with the reintroduction even of its original fragrances. In front of it is the second-century BC Casa della Fontana Grande (House of the Large Fountain), whose large fountain indeed, decorated with shells and mosaics in polychrome glass paste, has been restored.
Make a slight detour to go see the Villa dei Misteri (Villa of the Mysteries), famous for its exquisite, red-hued frescoes. Excavations in 2018 uncovered remains of horses in a stable near the villa.
Go back to Via dei Sepolcri all the way to Via dell’Abbondanza, which used to be lined with thermal baths and small shops; once you reach Regio VIII, you’ll find the restored Tempio di Iside (Temple of Isis); in the back of the building, once a space devoted to the followers of the goddess Isis, there is now multimedia equipment where visitors can better understand the cult of the goddess.
In the Regio III is the Schola Armaturarum, sadly in the news when it collapsed in 2010, now at the center of a major restoration, with the chance every week for a limited number of visitors to see the restorers at work.
In Regio I, you’ll find the Casa dei Ceii (House of the Ceii), which houses a large fresco depicting hunting scenes and wildlife, and in Regio II is the residential complex of Giulia Felice (Praedia of Giulia Felice). Both sites reopened in 2018.
As restorers continue to work on the site you can be sure there will be more thrilling discoveries, so stay tuned for updates here on ITALY Magazine.