Pompeii is one of those almost-mythical places that you can read so much about but never really imagine exactly what it will be like. Certainly my imagination could never prepare me for how simply amazing this place is, it almost feels unreal.
We were travelling around Italy on a P&O cruise and were looking forward to Pompeii so much.
It is quite useful to take a guided tour here as it’s hard to understand the devastating impact without an expert. That’s not to say you can’t do it yourself but also the scale of the place is so enormous that it can feel overwhelming and you could spend about 3 weeks exploring everything there is to see.
This is probably the world’s best preserved Roman town having been buried by the volcano of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD and laying largely undisturbed for nearly 1700 years afterwards.
Pompeii is the most amazing and intimate insight into Roman life and it is a fantastic place for bringing history alive for children. They can actually feel the history and imagine the streets bustling with people.
You can feel the deep grooves in the road paving slabs made by countless chariots passing by –
and touch the intricate marble carvings.
There are water faucets with wonderful faces all over Pompeii
and quite possibly the world’s oldest street crossings!
And row after row of shops with their counter tops and large pots for selling their wares.
My favourite part was the rooms for, shall we call them, the ladies of the night?! Individual bedrooms with stone beds and colourful paintings above the doors to depict the services available! (This was one we walked rather briskly through with the children!!)
There were luxurious villas with amazing mosaics on the floor, all in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius which was to deal them such a devastating blow.
You can see some of the plaster casts of the people that were found at the point of death which are eerie and horrifying but also completely fascinating.
I love that Pompeii is so accessible. There’s no need to view behind museum glass, you can touch and feel the history all around you.
The children loved hearing stories of the people who would have lived here and the chariots that would have clattered up and down the streets.
You could probably spend two weeks here and still not see all of it. The size of Pompeii is mind-blowing and every corner you turn there is something else to see and wonder at.
I thought I would love Pompeii as I am so interested in history but I wasn’t quite prepared for how much I would love it. It’s one of those places that stay with you long after you’ve visited – alluring, beautiful and ultimately so sad that it ended with such devastation.
We are absolutely sure that this is somewhere we will return to and explore more. I would definitely recommend Pompeii as a great place to explore as a family.