Pompeii is a very easy day trip if you are staying in the Naples area or on the Amalfi Coast, which we were not. From Rome, the train rides will take about two and a half to three hours each way and you should make sure you have several hours to spend in Pompeii. We left early in the morning, took the fast train from Rome to Naples and then the commuter train to Pompeii.
Lunch was pizza in Naples (delicious! Mine was anchovy) and we did spend a bit of time there, just exploring the area around the train station. We also had a nice dinner in Naples before heading back to Rome.
In 79AD, the Roman city of Pompeii was buried under 4 to 6 meters of ash and pumice from an eruption of the nearby volcano, Mt. Vesuvius. Over 1500 years later, in 1599, the city was discovered and then excavated in the years to come. The covering of ash helped to preserve the area’s houses, baths, household items as well as the beautiful artwork, or frescoes that were painted onto the walls. Due to this preservation, much has been determined about life in this ancient city.
Today, you can wander on your own or take a guided tour. We opted to explore on our own, walking through the streets of the once bustling city and visiting inside the intricately designed public baths. Throughout the area you will find many plaster casts of the people and pets of Pompeii as they were covered with ash. The very real depictions of the agony in this horrendous death can be haunting. It was definitely a mood changer for my small group.
For anyone with an interest in history, a visit to Pompeii is a must.