History of the streets of Pompeii

What were the streets of Pompeii like?

The streets of Pompeii show us, a little, that wonderful day-to-day life of a Roman city (Ancient Roman Empire). Stepping where so many, thousands of pedestrians before us did, is exciting. And like today, the main avenues were lined with shops and businesses. Movement, traffic, noise, dirt, smells… impregnated the future of a city that nature preserved for our good and knowledge.

The first thing that catches our attention when we visit Pompeii are the marks of deep ruts on the roads, witnesses of a bygone time and years of wheeled traffic of those cars that carried out their daily chores. They distributed belongings, transported travelers.

History of the streets of Pompeii
History of the streets of Pompeii

Why are the sidewalks of the sidewalks in Pompeii so elevated?

The raised sidewalks up to 1m high sometimes, which could be to save the dirt that the roads could accumulate. Let us remember that the droppings of donkeys, horses, mules, domestic and commercial waste ended up mainly on public roads.


As data “Part of the human feces and urine produced in the city (six and a half million kg per year, according to calculations) presumably ended up on public roads”
But there is another cause for the elevation of the sidewalks, the water. In Pompeii it rains a lot and built as it is on a hillside or slope, the streets turned into torrents. Through them the course of the water that was going to stop outside the walls was channeled. This system also drained the water from public fountains (in Pompeii there were many), the baths, businesses, and even dirty water from homes.

The sidewalks were, just like today, a public place where people could stop to chat, eat (the taverns had this space enabled) or simply take a walk. When it was hot, awnings were placed in many houses or establishments to cool the passerby.

Were there pedestrian crossings in Pompeii?

In many streets of Pompeii we see some mounds similar to our zebra crossings but high, the footbridges.
They were simply so that pedestrians could cross and avoid water and mud. They were strategically located at the confluence of the streets or crossroads most frequented by pedestrians. And sometimes they led directly to the homes of wealthy owners for their added convenience.
It must be said that these footbridges were placed so that wheeled vehicles could circulate.

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Was traffic restricted in downtown Pompeii?

All the avenues that led to the Forum were pedestrianized, closed to vehicle traffic. In the access streets, barriers with stone blocks were placed, or a fountain in the middle of the road, stairs…any obstacle so that it could only be accessed on foot.


History of the streets of Pompeii
History of the streets of Pompeii

The Streets of Ancient Pompeii: A Labyrinth of Mystery and Charm

In the days gone by, when the sun cast its glow on the golden cobblestones of ancient Pompeii, the streets came alive like the chapters of an enchanting novel. Every nook, every corner, carried with it a fascinating particularity, a story waiting to be unraveled by those who had the audacity to venture into its labyrinths.

Like an intricate tapestry woven by divine hands, the streets of Pompeii possessed a unique character. Narrow and winding, its stone cobbles led through a maze of houses, shops, and taverns, whispers of the past hanging in the air, like sighs caught in time.


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Every street a painting

Each street was a canvas in which the echoes of the past were intermingled with the footsteps of modern visitors of Pompeii. The walls of the buildings, once full of life and color, now lay silent, holding the secrets of a city entombed for centuries. But oh, if one paid attention, he could still hear the whispers of commerce and daily life that once echoed in every alleyway.

What were the streets of Pompeii like?
What were the streets of Pompeii like?

The houses of Pompeii, some modest and some magnificent, lined both sides of the streets, like guardians of the past. Its walls, worn by time, still told stories of past lives, of love and disagreements, of laughter and tears. The doors, now wide open, invited visitors to enter a forgotten world, where the past and the present merged in an eternal dance.


History of the streets of Pompeii
History of the streets of Pompeii

History of stones

The worn stones underfoot revealed ancient footprints, scars that spoke of countless journeys. Here, a pool of water reflected curious faces, while there, a piece of mosaic dazzled with its lost glow. At each corner, the columns and arches recalled a time of greatness and splendor, reminded of those who once walked proudly through those same streets.

And so the streets of ancient Pompeii remain a silent reminder of a civilization lost to time. On every cobblestone, in every shadow, in every hidden corner, lies a piece of history waiting to be discovered and appreciated by those seeking to capture the charm of a remote past.

The ashes on the streets of Pompeii

Oh, streets of Pompeii! Hidden treasures among the ashes, silent witnesses of lives that once were. Your legacy stretches through the centuries, reminding us of the fragility of existence and the fleeting magnificence of humanity.

In the streets of ancient Pompeii, one can walk through the sighs of the centuries and feel, for a fleeting moment.



How to get to Pompeii from Rome

  1. Train:  Take the train in Rome, station Termini has Naples, station Piazza Garibaldi. Once there Take the local Transvesuvian train (in the same station, in the underground) to the Pompeii station. 2 hours of travel.
  2. Bus: Line 23  From Rome to Pompeii 4 hours of travel.
  3. For Visit Pompeii: Where to stay in Naples click here


Segreteria Ernesta Rizzo, Clelia Mazza Via Plinio n. 4 – 80045 Pompei (NA) – coordinate + 39 081 8575111 [email protected]  

Ufficio Scavi di Pompei Direttrice Grete Stefani [email protected]


House of Orion

Facing onto Vicolo dei Balconi, the external façade and the entrance are embellished by First Style decoration, partially displayed in the Antiquarium, in the form of a stucco imitation of a wall with rows of square stone blocks. The House takes its name from the elegant floor mosaic (emblemata) discovered in its left wing, with a rare depiction of the catasterism of the mythical hero Orion, that is the transformation of the hunter into one of the most fascinating celestial constellations, by will of Zeus. The scene is connected, by virtue of a similar composition, to a second incomplete mosaic present in the diurnal cubiculum, which also depicts Orion as the hunter of a monster and beasts, aided by a butterfly. Both works highlight the high cultural level of the owners.

The dwelling, previously discovered during the excavations of the 19th century, possesses a spacious central atrium, surrounded by rooms decorated in the First Style with detailed floor mosaics. Precisely because of these decorative associations, the house reveals a rather retro style for its era, with stucco frames and panels of the most ancient Pompeian style in place of more modern pictorial cycles of the Fourth Style


House of Orion - Pompeii
House of Orion – Pompeii


The House of Orione takes its name from the floor mosaic present in a domus environment, and which represents one of the most refined and unpublished iconography found in Pompeii, that of the myth of Orion. The scene represents the cataterism of the hero Orion, or rather the transformation of him into a constellation, and is probably related to that of a second mosaic in the house. Both mosaics denote a notable cultural level and probable relations of the owner with the eastern Mediterranean world, from which they could originate.