Pompeii is one of the oldest cities in Italian history. It contains some of the most incredible testimonies of Roman history in the remains of the ancient city. Pompeii is famous in the world for its archaeological excavations which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

But find out what is not to be missed in Pompeii in addition to the beautiful archaeological excavations.

The Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin of the Holy Rosary

The first step of this tour is the Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin of the Holy Rosary . It is the main place of worship in Pompeii and it is one of the most important and visited Marian sanctuaries in Italy. Today the Basilica has three naves: the two smaller ones, with three altars on each side, meet behind the apse, where the four semicircular chapels also meet.

The Basilica often underwent significant changes since its construction in 1876, as every year the number of faithful who wanted to attend the prayer increased more and more that it was not possible to contain them in the structure. On the façade, it has two superimposed orders. The lower order is in the Ionic style, with monolithic columns that are placed at the entrance. The upper order follows the arrangement of the lower one, in the distribution of the pillars and columns, but Corinthian style.

The bell tower was built in 1912 and is a hallmark of the city. Inside the basilica, there is the famous and revered painting of the Madonna of Pompeii in the world.

The Villa of the Mysteries

A few steps from the Sanctuary, you can find a mysterious villa. Although it is a Roman villa, the Villa of the Mysteries is geographically located outside the excavations and for this reason, it is present in this small tour that we propose. The Domus can be visited beyond the excavations.

The Villa of the Mysteries was unearthed between 1909 and 1910 and owes its name to some mysterious frescoes found inside. The room from which the villa takes its name is frescoed on three sides with the scenes of a rite unknown to date which is imagined to be dedicated to Dionysus, who is depicted in the centre of the continuous fresco.

The villa dates back to the 2nd century BC. and it received its present form probably at the beginning of the following century.

The villa was, probably, being renovated during the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. It was fundamental to understand some elements of Roman carpentry.

The chapel of the Madonna Delle Grazie

The next stop is often off the radar of regular Pompeian tours, but it deserves your attention. The chapel of the Madonna Delle Grazie, called "La Rotonda", dates back to the Middle Ages but was restored in the early twentieth century.

The building has an octagonal plan with hints of Renaissance influence. Seven sides of the plant have stuccoes with ashlars, alternating with pairs of Ionic pilasters. The entire chapel rests on a low base that acts as a podium to highlight the entrance portal.

The Vesuvian Museum

The last proposal of this unusual Pompeian tour takes you to the Vesuvian Museum "G.B. Alfano". The structure has a collection of about 200 samples of Vesuvian rocks and minerals. Most, as you can imagine, are of volcanic origin.

Inside the museum, you can also find the reconstructions of some remains of the archaeological excavations of Pompeii. These include a dog and a wild boar cast and some furnishings. In the museum, you can also witness the cartographic reconstruction of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae, all destroyed by the eruption.

What and where to eat in Pompeii

Pompeii has a typical culinary tradition linked to Campania gastronomy. The city is full of restaurants but the best are those near the excavations. In fact, one of the best is the restaurant La Bettola del Gusto.

A family-run restaurant is very close to the Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin of the Holy Rosary, which we have proposed to you on this tour. The location is very intimate and elegant in which the combination of modernity and tradition reigns supreme. Even the menu takes up this union so much that the raw materials of the Campania tradition are accompanied by innovative recipes. One of the traditions of ancient Pompeii was the production of wine that you can try to revive in this place. In fact, among the 800 proposals, there are almost 300 wines from Campania.

The flavours and knowledge of the area will lead you to try an excellent cuisine (also reviewed by the Michelin guide) and to rediscover a praesidium for local and Italian slow food.

There is a part of Pompeii, beyond the excavations, which deserves to be visited. Come and enjoy the beauty of one of the oldest cities in the world.