The riveting ruins of Pompeii are an undoubtedly emotional and complex snapshot of a Roman colony and, perhaps, the best archaeological space in the world in terms of understanding the everyday realities and hierarchies of its people. We approach our full day tour of the history and culture of Pompeii in a comprehensive manner, pairing a visit to the archaeological site of Pompeii with an exploration of the Naples Archaeological Museum. The museum, also one of the best of its kind in the world, houses a large percentage of the artifacts, mosaics, frescoes and minor arts that were uncovered during the unearthing of Pompeii in the late 19th century. A complete experience of Pompeiian culture can only be achieved by delving into the collection of the museum, which fully paints a portrait of this enigmatic city. This excursion is led by an archaeologist or a classical historian, will skillfully unravel Pompeii's layers of history and significance.
In 79 B.C., Pompeii, along with various other settlements on the slopes of Mt. Vesuvius, was buried by layers upon layers of ash, lava and pumice. Due to this burial, the city offers a fascinating viewpoint for understanding the culture of the time. We begin our day-long excursion with a short drive from the city center of Naples, during which our docent will set up the preliminary socio-historical context that will help us better understand the various aspects of Pompeii we will explore with greater depth later on in the day. Upon arriving at the archaeological site, we will move swiftly through the ancient cobble-stoned roads, exploring the private homes, temples, shops, civic buildings and public spaces that intricately illustrate everyday activities in the city.
Taking cues from our surroundings, we will delve into aspects of religion, gender roles and commerce. We will pay special attention to the construction and decoration of private homes, most notably the magnificent frescoes of the Villa of the Mysteries. The moving remains of the desperate inhabitants attempting an escape from impending doom create an immediate and emotional experience. Leaving the site by the early afternoon, we will return to Naples by car where we will have a quick lunch in a small, non-touristy restaurant in the city center, followed by a short stroll through the center, poking our head into a few churches and providing a short synopsis of the history of the city.
The group will then head to the Archeological Museum of Naples, where we will build on the knowledge accrued during our exploration of the archaeological site. The impressive museum was founded by the Bourbon kings of Naples in the late 18th century in order to house the antiquity collection amassed during the major excavations the royal family financed. A close reading of these frescoes, models, and artifacts fully illustrates the enigma of Pompeii and is the fitting conclusion to our day long discovery.
|Duration: 8 hours|
|Venues: Pompeii Archaeological Site, Naples Archaeological Museum|
|Incidentals: Entry Tickets- €22.50|
Maria Laura Chiacchio
Marialaura holds a Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Naples and a Master's in Museology from the Ecole du Louvre in Paris. She is a native of Naples and is fluent in four languages; Italian, English, French and German. She is a specialist in 17th and 18th century art, and is also an expert in the 19th century excavations of Pompeii and the archaeological museum of Naples. She divides her time between Paris and Naples.
Fiorella Squillante holds a degree in modern languages and is a specialist in art history and Neapolitan culture and art.
She works with the main museums of Naples as a member of the educational section. She also works closely with Friends of Museums from abroad.
Fiorella is the president of the cultural association "Fine Arts", which organizes private viewings and themed routes in Naples and Campania, cocktails and visits to stately homes and private collections. She writes about Naples and Campania for a popular guide book and is the author of a guide to Neapolitan art and architecture called "Naples in 3 days".
Iris Mueller is a native of Germany. She has lived extensively in the U.S., where she received her Ph.D. in history from Yale University. She returned to Europe in 2002 to study Latin at the Pontificial Gregorian University in Rome. In 2003, she moved to the Naples/Salerno area. Besides leading itineraries for our visitors, she is working on Medieval manuscripts at the Naples National Library.
Roberta earned her degree in Archaeology from the University of Suor Orsola Benincasa in Naples and specialized in Cultural Heritage Conservation at postgraduate level. She is a licensed guide for the Campania region and has been involved in Cultural Heritage accessibility and mobility programmes.