One day in Pompeii
If you are travelling to Italy and visiting Naples or Sorrento, I highly recommend taking a day trip to Pompeii. The ruined city of Pompeii lies between Sorrento and Naples, and can be easily reach by bus or train from either city. There are plenty of companies that offer guided tour day trips from the two cities, or you can arrange a guided tour or audio guide when you arrive at Pompeii.
We caught the train to Pompeii from Sorrento and chose to join a guided tour, as it was only 12 EUR. We did our tour with a group called Tempio Travel and our guide was fantastic. The tour itself was 2 hours, which included a LOT of waiting around to get into Pompeii time, but once inside, it was worth every minute.
I had actually been to Pompeii before but it was so much better than I remembered. When I first went, I was only 15 and pretty sick of museums by the time I reached Pompeii. This time around, I found our guide really insightful, the archeological site itself incredible and very well preserved in many parts, and throughout whole experience, you were really able to picture how the ancient Romans lived back then and how terrified they must have been on 24 August AD 79.
One of the benefits of going on a guided tour is that you will visit all of the “must see” locations, as well as learning more about the culture. You can also hire an audio guide if you’d prefer to walk around the site at your own pace. It is recommended that you do choose some sort of guide as the archeological sites aren’t well signed.
The most impressive thing about Pompeii is the sheer scale and how well preserved the area is. This is because when Vesuvius erupted, Pompeii was covered in lapilli (burning fragments of pumice stone).
One thing that I definitely recommend seeing is the Body Casts. Located in the Granai del Foro (Forum Granary), the body casts were made in the late 19th century by pouring plaster into hollows. What was discovered when the plaster formed was formations of the fleeing residents of Pompeii. What you will see from these formations is people in their final moments as they tried to flee or hide. It’s a really confronting scene, so just prepare yourself if you decide to view these.
Make sure you wear comfortable, flat walking shoes; the ground is cobblestone and uneven in many parts.
If you are visiting in spring or summer, wear a hat and sunscreen.
Bring a water bottle and snacks, food and water is expensive and you will get thirsty.
Train: 2.40 EUR
Guided tour: 12 EUR
Audio guide: 6.50 EUR
Pompeii entrance: 15 EUR