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Day trip to Pompeii from Rome or stop there on the way to Sorrento?

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We will be in Rome for 5 nights from 14th Sept, then driving to Vico Equense (close to Sorrento) for another 5 night stay, then to Tuscany (Greve) after that.
We want to see Pompeii and Herculaneum but I am trying to decide whether to do this on the way to Vico or do a day trip when in Rome.
The drive to Vico is approx 2-3 hrs and originally planned to do a detour and go to Pompeii. We would dpend approx 3 hrs there and head off again to our destination. I originally hadn't planned to go to Herculaneum, but have been advised to do so.
I have seen posts where some have done day trips on their own by train (from Rome), some are saying its very difficult, some are saying to do arranged tours but Im not that compelled to do it this way, unless persuaded otherwise. With two older teens I would rather do our own thing rather than be on time limits... Would love your thoughts...

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