Stunning, not-to-be missed but unfortunately impossible to air condition: two famous Italian archaeological sites are trying to convince tourists to visit during hot summer months by opening at night.
Nocturnal tours of Pompeii, arguably one of the most decadent cities of Roman times, start at the ‘pleasure baths’ (terme suburbane) to the accompaniment of music written for the tours by spaghetti-western soundtrack maestro Ennio Morricone.
These 2,000 year-old thermal baths feature a series of frescoes with graphic scenes of various sex acts, thought to be a kind of sex menu for visitors.
Officials reckon that visitors to Pompeii doubled last summer due to nighttime visitors; neighboring site Paestum hopes to bring tourists to its dusty ruins featuring some of the best-preserved Doric temples in existence by staying open after sunset.
It may bring new life to the often deserted site, previously closed one hour before sunset, where the temple of fertility goddess Hera was said to be a fortunate spot for would-be parents to make love at night.
*image courtesy Soprintendeza archeologica di Pompei
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Reservations are suggested for Pompeii visits. Tickets can be purchased in Pompeii, at the Porta Marina ticket office from 7 – 9 p.m., at least 20 minutes before the tour.
Or get them online:
Details for Paestum visits are available at the tourist office: Via Magna Grecia 887 (tel. 0828-811016)