Pompeii is one of the world’s most famous ancient cities and a must-see for any visitor to Naples, in southern Italy. Located just a short drive away, it’s well worth the trip for anyone hoping to take in the unique and well-preserved remains of an ancient Roman town. Before you begin your journey, it’s useful to learn about the history of Pompeii, what you’ll find there, and how to get to Pompeii from Naples.
Described by some as an “open-air museum,” Pompeii was one of the most important cities of the Roman Empire. Established in the 6th century BC, it quickly grew to become an affluent trading port, with a population of around 10,000 by the 1st century AD. Its tradespeople primarily dealt in luxury goods, such as oils and wine, and it was also well-known for its coastal properties and views. In 79 AD, however, Pompeii was heavily damaged when Mount Vesuvius erupted, burying the city in ash and rock. Rediscovered some 1,700 years later, Pompeii is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts thousands of tourists every year.
What to Expect
Today, visitors will find what remains of this once-bustling city, with ruins that have quite astonishingly been preserved over the centuries. Vivid frescoes, crumbling buildings and streets lined with cobblestones surround a number of archaeological excavations – from the Grande and Piccolo Theatorium, which dates back to the 2nd century AD, to the Forum, and the Villa dei Misteri – all of which give an incredible insight into everyday life in the Roman Empire. From public baths and marketplaces, to stunning private villas, a trip to Pompeii truly brings the past to life.
The journey to Pompeii from Naples is an easy one, and there are a number of different options. Most visitors opt for either a private car, or public transport. For the former, Naples is well-connected to Pompei by highway, with the journey typically taking around 45-75 minutes, depending on the time of day. Alternatively, SITA buses regularly run from Naples and take about the same amount of time. Both options are comfortable and offer stunning views of the region.
For those planning to stay in and around Pompeii, there are a number of accommodation options. From luxury villas to budget-friendly guest houses, options are plentiful, with many amenities and services also included. Some accommodations even offer guided tours, or include admission tickets to archaeological sites. For those hoping to stay in the heart of Pompeii, the Hotel Diana Pompei is a popular choice, while Camping Pompei is a great option for those looking for a more rustic experience.
For those hoping to take in the history and culture of Pompeii, guided tours are highly recommended. Experienced tour guides are readily available, and offer unique insights into the area. From private tours to family-friendly hikes, there is something for every type of visitor. Most tours include tickets to Roman landmarks such as the famed Temple of Isis – located near the Grande Theatorium – and a guided tour of the Villa dei Misteri, home to a magnificent array of vibrant frescoes and sculptures.
The archaeological site of Pompeii is open seven days a week, from 09:30 until an hour before sunset. Tickets are required for entry, and run at €10 for general admission and €5 for EU citizens 18 and under. All tickets can be purchased at the entrance to the site, which is accessible year-round.
Group Discounts and Admission
Every year, a number of groups gather at the entrance to Pompeii to receive discounted admission and special guided tours. Group discounts are generally available to those with a minimum of 15 visitors, and tickets are only €5 per person. All groups must contact the office of Pompeii in advance of their visit, to ensure they have the correct documentation to gain entry.
Security and Safety
It’s always best to take the necessary safety precautions when visiting Pompeii. The area can get very crowded in summer, and there is a heightened police presence in the area during this period. It’s always advisable to stay on the paths and take any necessary belongings with you at all times. In addition, unlawful behaviour, or the handling of objects, is strictly prohibited.
Fresh Food and Local Cuisine
The local area around Pompeii and Naples is filled with restaurants and cafes offering up the freshest, locally-sourced ingredients. From the city’s famous pizza to a variety of seafood dishes, the region’s cuisine is renowned for its flavours and aromas. Seafood-lovers, in particular, will be spoilt for choice with an abundance of succulent dishes served in a variety of quaint eateries.
Hiking and Outdoor Pursuits
The area around Pompeii is filled with parks, historic sites and beautiful routes to explore. While the archaeological site of Pompeii takes centre stage, don’t forget to check out some of the other sights on offer, such as the beautiful Solfatara Crater and La Grotta della Sibilla. For those looking to get in touch with nature, hikes across the area’s rugged trails are highly recommended.
Pompeii is an ancient city on the path to rediscovery. Filled with ruins, Roman monuments and stunning views, it’s well worth the visit. Whether you opt for a private car, or SITA bus, the journey is comfortable and offers up some incredible views. Once there, enjoy exploring Pompeii’s many archaeological sites, eateries and outdoor pursuits. Its unique vibrancy and remarkable preservation make for a memorable experience.