Of course you want to visit Pompeii, it’s only the place where time has stood still since 79AD.
But can you really get there from Rome in a quick and easy fashion? Why, yes you can people!
In fact, I have visited Pompeii four times from Rome. My dissertation focused on Pompeii, the topic, well, let's just say it brings smiles and giggles to everyone once told (think phallic imagery, more on this later! ).
Each time I visited, I travelled from Rome to Pompeii in a day so let’s just say if I can get there in a day, anyone can.
Travelling to Pompeii from Rome in two easy steps
Step 1: Getting from Rome to Naples
Firstly, booking ahead is crucial if you want to save yourself some extra cash. Buying on the day costs €44 each way! Book ahead and it reduces to €20 each way, which is more like it; need that extra €40 for a bottle of Prosecco. You can book online at www.italiarail.com.
So there are two train speeds in Italy, just to confuse matters. One literally takes forever at 50mph (I’ve been on this from Rome to Venice and it was horrendous) or the High speed train at 186mph; we all know which one we need to get, right? Make sure you get the High Speed train! I cannot stress this enough.
At Rome’s Termini Stazione get the Frecciarossa Napoli Train. The journey takes an 1 hour and 10 minutes to get to Naples.
Try to get an early morning train as Pompeii is massive so you will need a good amount of time to get your exploration on.
Dové il treno a napoli per favore - where is the train to Naples please?
Step 2: Getting from Naples to Pompeii
You have arrived in Naples, hooray. Make your way downstairs to the Circumvesuvian Station, this will be signposted but if you get a little lost simply ask. Dové il Treno a Pompeii per favore?
Buy a ticket for the Circumvesuviana Line, costing €3.20 each way at the ticket booth. No need to book prior for these tickets. The trains run every half hour so you shouldn’t have to wait too long. These are the 2019 current train times, hopefully this will help you plan your journey.
It only takes 35 minutes to get to Pompeii, the train stop is called Pompeii Scavi. It's about 100 metres up the hill from the entrance to Pompeii.
That’s it. Super simple, a monkey could do it.
What to take in your day bag to Pompeii?
A water bottle or two. You will get ridiculously thirsty as temperatures can soar to the late 30's in the Summer and with the same public water fountains in use, be rude not to fill up, ancient style.Sun lotion, hat, and a cardigan to cover up, shade is lacking in Pompeii, learn from my mistake, the lobster look and sun stroke on a holiday is just a no go.
Please for the love of all things holy, take comfortable trainers. It's a seriously long day, especially if you are commuting. The roads are cobblestones of sorts, the pavements are super high, I tripped up many times, if you're slightly clumsy, this place is trip hazard.
Air on the small side for a backpack. The security is tight in Pompeii as they do not trust tourists with huge bags. So pack the essentials and leave everything else at the hotel. Snacks or food, there is a restaurant in the grounds and a couple outside the entrance.
Is it worth joining a tour?
100% get yourself on a tour!
Pompeii is huge and the tourist information is practically non-existent. Each time, I have been peed off with how rubbish the information is around Pompeii. It’s one of the most important archaeological sites in the world, yet, it’s one of the worst for letting visitors know much about it!
A knowledgeable guide will be your saving grace. I knew lots about Pompeii from my degree and even I found it confusing to navigate around so avoid this lost puppy feeling and join a tour. - Tours of Pompeii with Lello & Co and Private Tours of Pompeii are two of the best rated.
If you’ve read my 3 days in Rome guide, you’ll know my inner Grinch come out around audio guides. I loathe them entirely! My opinion did not change in Pompeii sadly. I wasted my money on an audio tour and guess what I gave up 15 minutes in. It was telling me to go stand south west of the temple, uh hello, do I randomly own a compass to navigate myself around?! Then it decided to jump chapters and wouldn’t go back.
Points of Interest
Phallic Imagery is everywhere in Pompeii, you just have to look for it. At cross roads, above doorways, on wind chimes, statues, paintings, etc. Phalli warded evil spirits away and served as protective symbols, much like the all seeing eye is today. I find this part of Pompeii fascinating. If you want to know more, I'll send you my dissertation to read, apologies in advance for the awful writing style back then.
Villa of Mysteries has a room full of beautiful frescoes. Scholars argue to this day about their meaning, it is believed to show a young woman's initiation into a cult; go see for yourself and make your own conclusions.
If you can, check out Mary Beard's Pompeii! I love this book, she brings it all to life. Or if you're not the reading type, check out her BBC documentary to give you some background before you go.