Friday, July 27, 2012

Visiting the Site of Gruesome Demise: Pompeii

Ian & Steves
On our trip to Naples, I'm going to be honest and say I didn't want to go to Pompeii. Something about it "being too touristy", "just ruins", and "taking time away from pizza eating in Naples" crossed my lips. But for once - Ian was adamant and Kyle was on his side (traitor).

We went & I take it back. Pompeii is filled with tourists, some armed with Rick Steves guidebook like Ian, but that's because it is a MUST SEE. Much more than just ruins, the site is impeccably set-up for awe inspiring history. 

Pompeii Italy ruins

Pompeii Italy ruins

Pompeii Italy ruins

Pompeii Italy ruins
Citizen of Pompeii

Pompeii Italy ruins
Pompeii Baths

Pompeii Italy ruins

Pompeii Italy ruins
Ampitheatre Pompeii

Yeah, pretty awesome. In case you didn't know,
Pompeii is in Campania, Italy, not far from Naples. Its major attraction is the ruined ancient Roman city of the same name, which was engulfed by Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Because we can't take anything seriously, and inspired by our friend Jeff, we each took the position we would like to be in if the apocalypse was to happen.

Ian grimaces to his DOOM
Kyle quackes in fear
ebe hunkers in acceptance of her imminent demise
We also made our way to the crowd favorites of tavern and brothel. The brothel is the only place we encountered a line, all to see a few stone beds and some ancient artwork of Kama Sutra worthy positions.

Pompeii Ruins Italy
Brothel at Pompeii
Ian demonstrates brothel amenities

Tips for Visiting Pompeii

  •  Bring water, food, and sunscreen. We brought all 3 & it would have been a miserable trip without (I still got burnt). There are places to buy food, but they are a bit expensive. They do have a nice clean FREE bathroom though. (Enough time in Europe and this is exciting)
  • The place is huge! Give yourself enough time to explore the site adequately, but don't beat yourself up if you don't make it everywhere. Steves said the The Great Palaestra (Gymnasium) wasn't all that great and so we skipped it. Your word is our command, Steves.
  • Don't let aggressive tourists and tour guides get you down. Ian can go a little hulk with pushy people, but the site is large so once you get out of the entrance area, you should be able to find your own way to connect with the site.
  • Wear sturdy shoes as the cobblestones are really uneven. Ancient craftsmanship, eh? 
  • Call ahead if there is something in particular you are dying to see as restoration and closures are common. 
  • If you really, really want to see more old stuff, we hear the Naples National Archaeological Museum and the Herculaneum site are worth the visit.  (Although beware closures here as well)


The site is open daily from 8:30 to 19:30 (November to March from 8:30 to 17:00) and the last ticket is sold 90 minutes before closing. It is closed on 1st January, 1st May, and 25th December.

Telephone: 081-857-5347


There are several options for travel, and we chose one of the easiest/cheapest, the train. Though hot, it was an easy option and we got the added entertainment of some seriously annoying Staten Island travelers getting hassled by some local teens. Always fun when it's not you.


Circumvesuviana Napoli-Sorrento line takes 30 to 40 minutes to get to Pompeii from either Naples or Sorrento. It should cost €1,80 to €3,20. Get off at "Pompei Scavi". At the station, you can leave your bags for €1,50 (collect by 7:00PM in summer, 6:00PM October to February), or leave them for free at the ruins (only for luggage). The entrance to Pompeii is about 50m away from the station and there's a Tourist Information office further down the street. If you get off at "Pompei Sanctuario," instead of "Pompei Scavi," the walk through town is not very far; it's tiring but worthwhile.


SITA runs buses from Naples. The cost is the same as the train.


Tickets should include a map of the site and a booklet listing the main attractions.
  • One-day tickets - €11 per adult
  • €5.50 for EU citizens between 18 - 24 and school teachers
  • EU citizens below 18 or above 65 get in for free 
  • Five-site pass costs €20 (includes Herculaneum and is valid for 3 days) 
We just bought the entrance pass &  used the fine Pompeii walking tour by Mr. Steves (as read by Ian). We were more than happy with our experience and the tour took us about 4.5 hours. Other options include:
Audioguides are available either at the train station InfoPoint or at the official entrance for €6,50, €10 for two, ID is required.

Tour guides also cluster near the entrance and offer their services. It's a good idea to talk to one for a couple of minutes before deciding, to make sure you can understand their accent when they speak English. You can join a tour group with the train station InfoPoint for €12 (not including entrance fee) or €10 at the official entrance. 

Three cheers for Pompeii!

Hip hip

Pompeii Ruins Italy

Pompeii Ruins Italy

As always, I've got a kagillion more pictures for the true fanatics, and more post son our trip to Naples.

Naples - When the Moon Hits Your Eye

Pictures of the Street Art of Naples


fiona said...

Weirdly when we went to Sorrento on holiday I wanted to see Pompeii, and not Naples , which we'd read in our guidebook was full of muggers and quite rough. Ha, ha! So there you go. Anyway, great photos and I especially love your 'imminent death' poses. Brilliant!

Jan said...

Good to know! I've never wanted to go to Pompeii, either, for same of the same reasons you had, but I may just have to check it out! :)

Unknown said...

@ Fiona We simply loved Naples, but it was one of the craziest places we had ever been. What's that say about us? We really have to try to see more lovely things like Sorrento some day.

Happy to help @Jan! I think you really need a good guide/book to make the place come back to life, but I was duly impressed.

Spudnik said...

Love the pictures! Your talents are wasted.

Unknown said...

Ah, shucks. Thanks Irish!

We're Back in Berlin Ja!

We're Back in Berlin Ja!
ebe & ian at Yak-toberfest 2008