Pompei day trip tips
I’ve been fascinated by Pompei for the longest time. What’s not interesting about an ancient Roman city that became buried under ash and pumice when Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, secretly preserving it for 1,500 years?! It was somewhere we just had to visit on our way around central and southern Italy.
From our base in Naples we took a train to Pompei Scavi, just a short walk to the Pompei site. Mount Vesuvius looms menacingly nearby, occasionally disappearing behind buildings only to pop out around the next corner. From murals found inside Pompei we know that Vesuvius used to have a pointed summit and while some ancient Romans knew it was volcanic it wasn’t considered dangerous. There have been further eruptions since 79 AD and all have contributed to the flattening of Vesuvius’ dome.
The site is huge. We arrived in the late-morning and after a glance at the (free) map realised we should’ve gotten up earlier. We still managed to tick off the must-sees: Villa dei Misteri, the Forum, the Baths, the Teatros, the Anfiteatro, the Necropolis, the “Cave Canem” (beware of the dog) mosaic at the House of the Tragic Poet and the Antiquarium – including the plaster casts of people and animals who perished here 2,000 years ago. Pompei is still dusty; my feet and legs were literally grey by the end of the day.
- Wear proper shoes. I thought I’d be ok in my practical and comfortable Birkenstock’s but the smooth cobbles of Pompei are slippery.
- There are free water fountains dotted around so don’t throw away any bottles you may finish off!
- Check the map online before you go and make sure you have enough time to see everything.