We travelled to Pompei by train from Sorrento (Circumvesuviana train). It’s very cheap, although it is slightly more expensive than recent years. It’s still much, much cheaper than UK trains. It must have been no more than 5 Euro return. The train doesn’t take very long, and I think Pompei was the 11th (ish) stop along the line. You need to ensure you get off at Pompei Scavi and not Pompei, although I’m sure this is obvious with the number of tourists.
On getting off the train and exiting the train station, I was extremely disappointed and upset by the scammers that seemed to have appeared in recent years, guiding large numbers of tourists from the train into the opposite direction to Pompei Scavi (left instead of right) and saying ‘Pompei tickets this way!’. The scammers then force them into buying tour tickets with them for a price more expensive than entry on the actual gate. New tourists do not realise that this is wrong and is a scam.
My parents came with us this day (my dad visits Pompei every year to see new things they find, and he is an excellent guide!). My dad actually confronted the scammer and said ‘Pompei is not that way’ and the scammer kept insisting it was. It’s very frustrating and as a new tourist I think it’s important to be aware there may be people willing to take advantage of you.
Anyway *rant over* on exiting the station, we walked RIGHT. There are stalls selling icy bottles of water, and you will be thankful if you buy one of these now. Pompei can get very hot and is a large place. The actual entrance into Pompei Scavi is just a short walk down from the train station, and usually there are big queues to get tickets, although they go down relatively quick. There are guide books here and I think also audio guides. People usually walk around offering tours in your language, but they can be very slow to get around Pompei and can give facts you sometimes aren’t interested in (like the year things were built etc). My dad did an excellent job of being our guide as he told us what different things were used for and gave a good picture of actual life in Pompei before Vesuvius erupted.
Here are a few images of us exploring Pompei.
Pompei is an amazing place to visit, but if you are looking for a less popular alternative, Ercolano is a good option. Although I have never been myself, I have heard it is smaller and much better preserved than Pompei. I may take a trip there next time.
When we came out of Pompei, we discovered they now have exhibitions of some of the people of Pompei. I’m not sure if these are original or not as we say similar inside Pompei.
It’s really interesting to me how much smaller people were back then, compared to today!
After we had finished with the ruins of Pompei, we started the walk into the modern Pompei of today, which few tourists venture into. It can be quite a walk but it is great to do. There is a massive church in the centre of the square, which we usually visit every year. It is beautiful and the corridors leading off from the church have pictures filling the walls of miracles that have happened to people. We did not get to go in this year as I wasn’t allowed in because I was wearing shorts, but I will insert pictures of inside the church from previous years.
When I was younger I used to spend a long time looking at all of the miracles that had happened, despite the fact I’m not particularly religious. There is also an orphanage attached to the church, and there is a shop selling things like rosary beads where all of the proceeds go to the orphanage. My grandad back in the day used to go donate money to the orphanage and so each year I visit I make an effort to buy something from the shop.
We then headed down one of the side streets to a cafe for a snack and a drink. It’s much cheaper than Sorrento and it was nice to not be surrounded by masses of tourists. Afterwards we began the long walk back to the train station.
Pompei is a great day out and if you don’t take a guided tour it’s definitely doable to fit in ‘modern Pompei’ too. Just ensure you wear appropriate clothing to enter the church as it’s definitely worth it. Also ensure you wear good shoes that you don’t mind possibly getting ruined. It’s something you definitely have to be fit for, but I think that’s the case with most sights in Italy. Pompei is a great bit of history in great travelling distance from Sorrento.