Dream Destinations – Pompeii

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It’s time to take a slightly different approach with our next Dream Destination as we want to head to mainland Europe and visit the historic city of Pompeii. I am sure many folks reading this will be more familiar with Pompeii because of the recent release of the movie that highlights the historic and tragic eruption of Mount Vesuvius that saw Pompeii literally flattened and buried under a mass of ash and debris.

But to add a little extra twist to this, what exactly do you know about this cultural hub in Italy and the attractions that lead thousands of visitors to exploring this beautiful location?

Here are some of the key landmarks worth exploring if you are fortunate enough to travel to Pompeii.

Mount Vesuvius

Image courtesy of Dommaria (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Image courtesy of Dommaria (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Let’s start with the most obvious of them all – Mount Vesuvius. Located in the Gulf of Naples, Vesuvius stands as the only active volcano in mainland Europe and is most infamous for the eruption in AD 79. A tour of Vesuvius is available and I am sure this is a really cool experience even if this is more of a hiking trail to the Vesuvius Crater. If you are fortunate enough to take this tour during good weather, you will be left astonished by the amazing views of the crater but all too frequently the views are marred by the weather conditions, leaving visitors with an eerie memory of what occurred thousands of years ago.

Amphitheatre of Pompeii

Image courtesy of Mosborne01 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
Image courtesy of Mosborne01 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
The oldest surviving Roman amphitheatre is located in the heart of Pompeii and is simply known as the Ampitheatre of Pompeii. Whenever you see such a historic landmark as this beautiful ampitheatre you are left gazing down at a plethora of history. Just think about standing there and overlooking this magnificent piece of architecture, closing your eyes and pondering those Roman soldiers fighting for their lives during the heat of battle. 

Unlike other Roman amphitheatres constructed around this time period (believed to have been constructed in BC 80), the one in Pompeii does not have an underground section. Does this have any real significance? Well, you could maybe consider that the Romans felt ‘safer’ in Pompeii therefore didn’t need to have such underground tunnels and sections available to have a secure location but maybe there was just something more simple behind this approach – we can all use our imagination here!

Temple of Apollo

Image courtesy of Lord Pheasant at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons
Image courtesy of Lord Pheasant at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons
One of the oldest landmarks still remaining in Pompeii is the Temple of Apollo which is definitely a piece of architecture worth exploring. Of course when visiting Pompeii it is difficult to choose exactly which of the historic landmarks you want to visit and everyone will have very different reasons for exploring each one.

The House of the Faun

Image courtesy of Dave & Margie Hill / Kleerup from Centennial, CO, USA (House of the Faun  Uploaded by Marcus Cyron) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Image courtesy of Dave & Margie Hill / Kleerup from Centennial, CO, USA (House of the Faun Uploaded by Marcus Cyron) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Historically one of the most lucrative private residences in Pompeii, the House of the Faun is commonly referred to as this because of the dancing statue stood outside the front of this residence. It was one of the largest and most richly decorated houses during the Roman period and is undoubtedly a true representation of the aristocratic life in not only Pompeii but of ancient Rome.

Thousands of visitors flock here to not only see the remains of the house but of the beautifully designed mosaics that are still present on the floors to this day in certain spots along with others that have been transferred to the National Museum in nearby Naples.

Pompeii Sanctuary

Image courtesy of By Velvet (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Image courtesy of By Velvet (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The Pompeii Sanctuary was constructed towards the latter end of the 19th Century and was funded by donations from millions of patriotic believers from around the world. Modernization and expansion has taken place since this original design but even with this on certain days of the year this iconic basilica still cannot hold the large numbers that flock here.

Also referred to as specifically the Sanctuary of the Madonna of the Rosary, this landmark is a must-see because it covers over 2000 years of history that can be seen in the exhibition area of the sanctuary.

***This post is part of the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge (#DreamDestinations #AtoZChallenge)***


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Chris Boothmanhttps://abritandasoutherner.com
Chris Boothman is the co-founder of A Brit and A Southerner. Born near Manchester, England, Chris moved to USA in 2006 where he soon after met his wife and travel partner in crime, Heather. They have since embarked on an amazing journey of travel as they challenge others to follow in their paths of working full-time but also being able to travel frequently! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact Chris at [email protected]


  1. Haven’t done much traveling but now when we get a chance. We try to look at world though different eyes…culture, history, food, geology, and etc.

    Stop in from A to Z challenge.

    Coffee is on

  2. It’s been quite a few years since I’ve been to Pompei and I think the time has come back to make another visit. I don’t remember a couple of these sites but I do I remember scrambling up the side of Vesuvius to see the great hole in the ground and the fabulous view of the…clouds!

  3. This may be one of the first of your dream destinations we’ve actually visited. Pompeii is incredible, mind boggling at times that the tiles and specks of paint have survived for so long. Herculaneum is another nearby site like Pompeii except it was discovered under the city so a large chunk of the city has been cut away and the ruins are at the bottom of this hole in the middle of the city. A lot of the site hasn’t even been unearthed yet but it’s a lot quieter than Pompeii. Great post today!

  4. I remember visiting there many years ago as a kid, and I have always wanted to go back. Reading this has made me want to include it on the itinerary of my next trip!

  5. We visited Pompeii when staying on Capri. It’s a sad place to wander around, though extremely interesting. Would love to go back to that whole area.

  6. I haven’t been to pompeii and this makes me interested. The Temple for Apollo and the Pompeii Sanctuary seem really interesting. I’m going to have to watch the movie before making a trip down there to see all of this.

  7. Pompeii is a fantastic, and when you go you might also want to go to Herculenaneum…both great sites that were buried by Vesuvius! Great post…

  8. I was in Pompeii last week!!! I absolutely loved it….my favourite art was probably seeing the grooves on the flagstones made by the chariot wheels. Great post though, I hope it inspires others to visit – it really is as amazing as you could imagine it to be!

  9. I went to Pompeii a couple years ago and really enjoyed it – a whole lot more than I expected to. Try not to go in the middle of summer…there’s literally no shade at the ruins and it is blistering hot. Other than that, fascinating!


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