Perhaps the first thing that strikes when visiting the vestiges of Pompeii is the natural beauty of this site at the base of Mount Vesuvius. It’s difficult to imagine the tragic event that doomed this Roman city.
Catastrophe and miracle converged at Pompeii: the catastrophe of an eruption that buried the city under meters of volcanic ash in 79 CE, and the miracle of its exceptional preservation, like a snapshot of the epoch. Spanning about a hundred hectares, this site reveals cobblestone streets that still connect magnificent theaters, imposing amphitheaters and opulent mansions with impressively preserved mosaics. Thermal baths, bakeries, frescos with ancient graffiti... no other site in antiquity offers as many details about the daily life of people who lived 2,000 years ago, nor with as much precision.
Just a few steps away and five minutes from Pompeii’s modern train station, MGallery has invented a new yet ancient art de vivre in a superb 19th-century mansion surrounded by gardens.
If the homes of Pompeii could rise from their ashes and travel through time, they might look like Habita79. The lobby, a reinterpretation of an ancient atrium, feels like the grand entryway to the home of a modern-day patrician and art collector. In the common rooms, contemporary works intermingle with meticulously restored Roman antiquities. This juxtaposition of past and present calls to mind the outsized installations of the French-Polish sculptor Igor Mitoraj that populate the ancient city. Close-ups of these statues are the subjects of large photographs found on the hotel’s walls. These works give the décor a certain depth, which, from the cozy red salon to the blue room, affirms each room's chromatic identify.
Despite these ancient inspirations, future generations are top of mind at Habita79. The hotel is equipped with outlets for charging electric vehicles, and sees a significant reduction in energy consumption with its own geothermal system. The very picture of sustainability while cultivating hedonistic refinement.
What’s a domus without its thermal baths? Habita79 guests can unwind at the spa, complete with a pool, solarium, sauna, hammam and sensory shower. Massages and treatments complete the wellness experience, much welcomed after a day of exploring the vast buried city.
But as with all the regions in Italy, the best of Campania is perhaps found in its cuisine. To experience it firsthand, head to Grand Hostaria. This restaurant, with an authentic 1950s-era décor, is where the finest regional wines accompany artisanal pizzas and pastas. A generous preview of the delights that await you in the area, from that indefatigable Napolitano spirit to the beauty of the Amalfi Coast, not to mention the very chic Sorrento and Herculaneum, “the other Pompeii.”
In the mood for a cocktail and exotic concoctions? The rooftop bar offers a fusion menu that tempts wayfaring taste buds. Whether for a drink or a meal, here one can admire the literal high point of the hotel: a sublime view of the majestic Vesuvius and the vestiges of Pompeii.