From Vico to Pompeii
Visiting Pompeii is a must for those arriving at Vico Equense. A cultural experience that is one of the most beautiful, interesting and famous sites of Italy. Pompeii is less than 20 kilometres drive from Vico, twenty minutes from Circumvesuviana you reach Pompeii Scavi station, and from there just a step away from the excavations. The catastrophic eruption of 79 AD also destroyed the area of the Sorrento Coast which was rich in villas where the Romans came to enjoy their summer, as well as the city of Pompeii. Back then it was a seaport city, and it was the maritime business which had made its wealth. How can you miss a visit to Pompeii, the largest and most famous archaeological site in the world? (Just think that the second biggest, Machu Picchu in Peru, is ten times smaller!).
Visiting Pompeii is like entering a time machine, such is the extraordinariness of the city. Not only do you visit monuments and fascinating works of art, but the entire city remains the same, in its structure, as that terrible moment. There are many beautiful things to see: frescoes, statues, mosaics, many of which the originals have been moved to the Archaeological Museum of Naples. The best thing to do is live for a day in the same places, under the same conditions, as the ancient Romans.
Visit Pompeii: the Forum, the entertainment buildings
Entering the walls of the ancient city, one step away from the Circumvesuviana station, you soon come to the Forum, the main square of every Roman city, where on the short side there are examples of political power and religion, and on the long side commercial and judicial meeting places. The Temple of Jupiter is on the axis with the placid and majestic Vesuvius, which is seen behind her. On the other side, the place from which the city was administered, what today would be known as the municipal building, where the elected citizens were to govern the city. On the long side there is the Macellum, a kind of general market, and on the other, the Basilica, where justice was administered. Just outside the Forum, here is one of the three spas of town, the place where Romans in every city, and therefore the ancient Pompeiians, spent their free time, taking baths, practicing gymnastics and having conversations. In this place, both men and women met at different times, demonstrating the freedom that women also had in the first century AD.
Fun at Pompeii didn’t stop at the spa. Two theatres, one covered, are not far from the Forum, which would feature musical performances, classical tragedies, but especially light shows like mimes, which often included strippers and dances that we would now call osé.
At the other end of the city, there is the greatest place of entertainment most-loved at that time, the Amphitheatre, where gladiatorial games were held. Pompeii built the first brick building of this type, even before the Colosseum of Rome, which carried the same function in the capital.
Daily life in Pompeii
Walking around the city, you can also discover the private life of Pompeii, with the homes of the rich built around magnificent gardens, adorned with statues and frescoes, and also the homes of the poor, maybe artisans and traders who lived on the second floor of their workshops. Even these shops can be visited, perhaps right along the main street, with the modern name “Abundance Street”, where at practically every crossroads there was a thermopolium, a place to eat something and drink a glass of wine.
The visit to Pompeii could never end, between public places (gyms, temples, spas) and private houses dating back several centuries. But it’s time to return to the beauty of Vico and its tranquillity, leaving a place that can be imprinted on anyone’s mind.