A step backwards in time to 79 A.D.

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Pompeï Scavi : (mostly on a rainy day)

Public life in a Roman city: pray and play.

Commercial life in Pompeï: the treatment of cloth at the Fullonica Stephani, grinding of grain and preparation of the loaves at the Bakery of Popidius Priscus and refreshments provided at one of the countless wine bars.

I like to think that these hollows may also have housed hot embers to heat wok-like dishes but the experts make no mention of this (although my Corsican mother-in-law was using just this cooking system up until the 1970s).

The comforts of Roman life as witnessed by the stepping stones across the street (no traipsing through refuse, rainwater or horse dung), and art in the home.

Welcome mats or not-so-welcoming mats.

Even the bricklayers were inspired to be creative. Opus reticulatum, opus incertum, opus latericium, opus caementicum, opus spicatum, the choice was infinite.

I was there on a rainy day at the end of March 2008 (although I did slip back again for a quick visit in the sunshine).  The Italian government had just set up a new Culture week;  monuments and museums were giving free access but the normal entrance price is €11,50.   A free information booklet and map is also available to ticket-holders, whether the ticket is free or not.

The Porta Marina is about 200 metres from the Pompeii Scavi Circumvesuviana railway station. Close to this same entrance are several car parks, some extremely expensive (€3,00 / hour).

It is a good idea to take a picnic onto the site with you, and later make use of one of the designated picnic spots (provided it's not raining): Porta Anfiteatro, Porta di Nola. There is also a restaurant near the Forum Baths.

I would definitely recommend doing your homework before you go, with a book such as the one on the left and a detailed map. In this way, you can prepare your route making a list of your particular "must-sees".  A four-hour visit is, to my mind, the absolute minimum - there is just so much to see.