The "Large Palaestra" consists of a large open air square, approximately 140 x 140 m, surrounded by porticoes and enclosed by a high wall with battlements in which there are 10 doors. All that is left of the centuries-old plane trees that were on the three sides of the great courtyard at the time of the eruption are moulds of the roots and there lies a 23 x 35 m pool at the centre. It was built in the Augustan period, at the beginning of the 1st century AD, and was intended for the physical and intellectual training of young citizens. Many erotic or poetic graffiti have been left by visitors on the walls and columns. Numerous victims were found during the excavation who had looked for a refuge or a way to escape through the building in vain.

The Palaestra hosts the permanent exhibition of the grand frescoes and artefacts found in the Complex of the Moregine Triclinia, a distinguished building situated about 600 metres away from the site of Pompeii, at the river port.

Date of excavation: 1935-1939.