The day after Caserta we left our apartment in Naples and caught the train to Napoli Centrale (also confusingly referred to as Girabaldi), it’s central train station where we bought tickets for the Circumvesuviana line to Pompeii.
We were a little apprehensive about taking the line as many described it as a cesspit for pick pockets on sites like TripAdvisor. It was packed, crazy busy, late, covered in graffiti, dirty and we had to stand for most of the one-hour plus ride to Pompeii but it really wasn’t that bad. It is the most convenient way to get to Pompeii without a car and very economical so you take some trade-offs but we never encountered any crime and took it again the next day to Sorrento. My advice though is, as in any major tourist site is to be diligent and don’t make yourself a target.
We chatted with some American tourists along the way which helped the time go by and finally we arrived at the Pompeii station which leads to the entrance for the ruins. Word off advice: ignore the offers for tickets and tours as you leave the train station, head straight to the entrance gate where you can buy tickets and find a tour guide if you want one. However, do buy a bottle of water here as it’s usually hot in the open ruins, for $1 Euro they give it to you very cold or frozen to last a few hours. After you purchase your entrance tickets we would recommend hooking up with a guided tour as it brings things to life and gives you a better understanding of what you are looking at. At about $15pp Euros for a three hour tour its great value and you can find them gathering groups in front of the ticket offices for all languages.
Our tour guide was amazing and at the end decided to give us a bonus tour, it was almost four fascinating hours that we spent with him and well worth the cost.
The ruins are so expansive and continue to grow with ongoing excavations. You can easily spend the better part of a day here, especially if you are fascinated by the history and ruins that give you a glimpse into the ancient world.
To view what was once a thriving city that came to such a tragic end in 79 AD with no known survivors when Mount Vesuvius tragically exploded is both emotional and fascinating. Hopefully it is never repeated but often on your mind with the dormant volcano looming over Naples and across the bay from our apartment.
We then headed back to the train station to line up for the ride home which wasn’t as packed as it was coming but quickly filled to capacity. It was a busy, exhausting, hot, June day but a great day out and many memories with our kids. Here is a link to our photos at Pompeii