Visiting Rome is always an adventure of it’s own – there is really no shortage of things to do and see there. However, if you are planning to stay a bit longer, day trip to Pompeii Italy may be a great way to explore the area around this awesome ancient city.
What is Pompeii Italy?
You probably heard of it one way or another – if not lately, then during your school years. Pompeii Italy was an ancient city that was destructed by a volcano eruption back in 79 AD and buried under 4 to 6 meters of ashes. That’s how it was able to preserve so well – excavations only started 1500 years after the eruption. This is why this site is so historically important and unique – it gives us a good picture of what the life was like back then.
Where is Pompeii and how to get there?
Pompeii is located just south of Naples, about 240 km from Rome. It’s fairly easy to get there by train or by car. Just take the next train from Rome Termini station to Naples Central station. Tickets price – around 11€.
I recommend taking the train – Italian trains are great for such trips – smooth, fast and air conditioned. The trip time is around 2 hours, but it went by really quickly. You will see lots of olives and wineries, beautiful mountains and a bit of the seaside. Make sure to use the bathroom on the train, as most Italian train stations have paid bathrooms (usually 1€).
Once you arrive in Naples, follow the signs to get on Circumvesuviana (local train line) and get off at Pompeii Scavi station. The ticket costs 2,60€ one way. Beware, this train is really basic and is more like a metro train. It was packed when we visited and we had to stand all the way to Pompeii station (30 minutes). There is also no air conditioning.
Good thing is – if you are not sure where to get off – you will understand it anyway, because almost everyone will be getting off at Pompeii Scavi.
Once you are off the train, lots of ticket agents and travel guides will try to sell you guided tours. If you prefer such tours – feel free to buy one. We went straight to the gates and got our own tickets – 13€/person. Ask for a site map or buy one at the kiosks outside the gates – you will need it!
The line was not that long, there is also a possibility to buy tickets online and save time.
As soon as you get in, you will be overwhelmed by the size of it. It’s huge! Follow the main road, peek into the houses. The map will help you understand better what you are looking for, because there are hardly any signs of the houses.
The most impressive buildings we saw – Temple, Forum, House of Faun, Thermal baths, Amphitheater and Brothel. Many visitors were shocked by the “bodies” – shapes of people who were unfortunate to stay in the city and who got buried alive.
Tips for visiting Pompeii
- Make sure to arrive as early as possible, as the site gets very hot and there is little shade! If you can, postpone your visit to a shady day or try to visit during low season. From our experience – mid May was already very hot and we could barely spend 3 hours there, before we were exhausted.
- Wear comfortable, breathable clothes, a hat, bring enough water and good walking shoes! The cobblestones are quite uneven and you need to watch you steps.
- There is a pizzeria on site, so no need to worry about bringing your own food with you. A light snack may be a good idea.
- Don’t buy you return tickets in advance – it’s hard to predict how much time you will need in Pompeii, so best is to decide during your stay. Cafes and bars around the gates are quite expensive but the pizza was among the best ones I had in Italy!
We visited Pompeii during mid May and it was fairly hot already. It’s certainly worth the visit, but I wouldn’t do it during the summer – the crowds will be massive and it will be too hot. The city is very well preserved and big enough to get some very good photo opportunities. It’s a huge open air museum. The only thing I didn’t like was lack of signs and explanations in English. Also, some of the houses were totally empty with grass growing on the ground. It felt a little deserted. I can understand why it is empty – it’s just not possible to keep an eye on every visitor and many tourists would want to take a piece of history home with them.
Trip to Pompeii is an easy and enjoyable day trip from Rome, but I would only do it if you have enough time to see Rome itself.