The Sanctuary of Apollo is one of the oldest places of worship in Pompeii, built in a strategic point, along the path that goes up to Marina Gate, which led to the public heart of the city. God as the founding cult of the settlement refers to the Greek and Etruscan presence in the Campania region. Deep excavations have allowed the earlier phases to be exposed, documented from vases, votive items and terracotta decorations that testify the presence of an archaic temple (6th century BC).
Between the 3rd and 2nd century BC the old building was completely renovated until it achieved the shape that, with a minor Neronian renovation, reached the dramatic days of the eruption: a temple on a basis, surrounded by a portico-style area, which defines a courtyard that has an altar at its centre. A sequence of open doors on the eastern wall, a monumental colonnade that might have had a terrace, connected the sanctuary to the square of the forum.
Gladiatorial games and theatrical performances of ludi Apollinares, the festivities in honour of the god focused on the initiations of boys and girls who recognised tutelary deities in Apollo and his twin sister, Diana. Both were depicted in bronze sculptures from the Hellenistic period, preserved in the National Archaeological Museum of Naples, and the copy of which is exhibited here.
Date of excavation: 1816-1817; 1931-1932; 1942- 1943; 1997; 2015.