Heads up: If you only have a limited amount of time in Naples, click here to read about how you can see the (in my opinion) much better Herculaneum and climb Mount Vesuvius in one day!
Confession time: before I booked this flight I had no idea Pompeii was near Naples. I had no idea where it was, in all honesty, but as soon as the flight was booked I decided it was an absolute must-see while in town.
Having accidentally bought the Campania Express train the previous day when travelling to Herculaneum, I made no such mistake this time round and got a return from Napoli Centrale to Pompeii on the Circumvesuviana train for a very reasonable €5.60. For the benefit of those who can’t be arsed reading my Herculaneum post, here’s where you need to go.
Obligatory delay not included (only eight minutes, does that even count in Italy?), the journey to the ruins took around 45 minutes. As you would expect, there were loads of places outside the station trying to flog tours, tickets, food and bottles of water. I’d heard that there were water taps inside the site, so had come prepared with my own bottle. Food-wise though, I was relying on my breakfast to get me through the day.
The queue outside the ruins was surprisingly long, perhaps a bit of naivety on my part, but after a half-hour wait under the heat trapped beneath the clouds, I handed over my €15 and set about exploring. Well, after the woman behind the desk had dug out her lunch from the order of sandwiches which seemingly arrived at the same time as me. Priorities.
After being dripped on by a fan and pretty much resigning myself to a bout of legionnaire’s disease, I joined another queue to get my ticket checked and waste a few more minutes. It’s not all glamour when you’re on the road, you know!
On the recommendation of someone from my hostel I downloaded an app called ‘Discover Pompeii’, which was basically an audio guide on my phone. Little did I know how good a move this was; not only was it €3 cheaper and saved me lugging about another piece of technology, but they were out of audioguides when I arrived anyway.
As usual, there’ll be very little of educational value in this post as there are already thousands of history books you can read about Pompeii. As such, I’ll be sticking to the more trivial things, such as the fact I saw a woman framing a picture to make it look like she was sticking her finger up the arse of the statue below.
Such is the size of Pompeii that it can be hard to know which way to go. I found myself just aiming for things that sounded important, such as the Basilica, the Anfiteatro and so on.
Not only this, but compared with Herculaneum the previous day it seemed a little more restricted. Sure, there’s a hell of a lot more to see, but it felt like I spent half the time looking into houses from behind a railing or a gate instead of being able to explore freely.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this isn’t and will never be a history blog. For that reason, in place of any educational content, here’s a load of pictures of Pompeii.
I’d heard varying opinions on how long was needed to do Pompeii. Some told me two hours, while I met someone who’d spent six whole hours exploring it! My visit was, rather unsurprisingly, on the shorter end of this spectrum.
All in all, it was worth a visit but I was totally ‘ruined out’ by the time I left. Perhaps two sites in two days was a little too much and to be honest, if I could only do one I’d choose Herculaneum every time!