Ancient Roman site of Pompeii are being “expanded”.


Ancient Roman site:It sounds like a math problem. How do you make one of the world’s most famous ancient sites even greater?

You cannot create more. You can get more but at a great price.

As more and more visitors flocked to Pompeii, the Pompeii Archaeological Park team came up with Plan B – spread visitors further out into the ancient sites and offer integrated and cross-site tickets. Pompeii Grande was to become a “parco diffuso” or diffuse archaeological park, encompassing the Pompeii archaeological site itself, as well as the nearby Boscoreale and Oplontis (in the modern town of Torre Annunziata) and Villa Stabia (located in the modern Stabia Sea Palace).

Ancient Roman site
Shuttles will take visitors to sites including Villa San Marco at Castellammare di Stabia.
Photo credit: Images Group Editorial/Getty Images

Italian Culture Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano told reporters during a visit to Pompeii last week that he called it a “dispersed museum” and called it a “sustainable improvement of the [archaeological] park and its surroundings.” Plan of archaeological sites”.

These sites have become part of the Archaeological Park of Pompeii, but until now they have been ticketed separately. They are also relatively far apart – the parkland stretches for about 8 miles – and some have little or no access to public transport. A Pompeii Artebus shuttle around the site will be trialled in 2021. Due to the inconvenience of transportation, the number of tourists is very small. Although nearly 4 million people visited Pompeii in 2019, only 55,000 visited Villa A at Oplontis (believed to be home to Emperor Nero and his second wife, Poppaea Sabina Sabina, whom he murdered). Only 52,000 people came to Stabia’s two villas: Villa Arianna and Villa San Marco.

However, Pompeii was packed to the brim. Visitor numbers grew from less than 2.7 million in 2014 to more than 3.9 million in 2019. In July 2023, a record 21,141 people visited the park in one day. A direct high-speed train from Rome to Pompeii will also be launched in 2023. However, the train only runs on one Sunday a month, adding to the burden on day-trippers. This ancient city was the most visited heritage site in Italy during the last “Domenica Museum” – a national heritage site with free entry on the first Sunday of every month.

Tickets for the “scattered” sites are valid for three days, and there are free shuttle buses connecting all sites. The move will also lead to the reopening of the Museum of Antiquities, located next to the Villa Regina Boscoreale. It will include a room dedicated to the current excavations at Civita Giuliana, including the unveiling of the Chariot in March 2021. The Mystery Villa in Pompeii is also getting new lighting to better replicate the villa’s original lighting.

Ancient Roman site
The ‘Villa Poppaea’ at Oplontis is thought to have been owned by the emperor Nero and his wife Poppaea. Photo Credit: Images

Prior to that, the Grande Progetto Pompei project over the past ten years oversaw the renovation of various sites, funded by 105 million euros from the European Union. Extensive excavations were carried out at Civita Giuliana, where horse remains were discovered in 2018, a wagon was discovered in 2021, and a chamber was discovered, shedding new light on the lives of slaves. The project will also open two new museums in the area: the Museum of Antiquities (opening in 2021) and the Libero D’Orsi Archaeological Museum in the magnificent Reggia di Quisisana in Castellamare, Stabia. The program also restored 70 buildings, opened an additional 40 hectares of land for tours and created a 4-kilometer loop of Pompeii for people with reduced mobility.

The new Pompeii megaproject will receive more than 230 million euros in investment, San Giuliano told reporters this week as he marked the completion of the project. The program will be launched on October 13.


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