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monica May 19th, 2002 12:11 PM

Pompei, Paestum or Herculanem ??
WE are planning our trip to the Amalfi coast in June.We have 5 days. WE plan to visit Capri for one day. I would like to visit one or two of the above Roman / Greek sites. Any suggestion on which is the best. I will be in Ravello for a couple of days, and I guess Paestum is a more convenient trip from there.

Jen May 19th, 2002 01:00 PM

Pompeii is interesting to see, but it's really only a 1-2 hour stop. The surronding area is pretty dumpy also.

dean May 19th, 2002 02:12 PM

I couldn't disagree with Jen any more. Pompeii was one of the absolute highlights of our visitsw to Italy. Yes its crowded and dusty but what a sight. You can see some incredibly preserved baths, theaters, and arena, a gym and many houses. SOme parts of it were repetitive, but what a visit. We stayed for almost 6 hours including a nice lunch at the restaurant there. Be sure to find the little garden in back of the self serve where you can have a lunch served to you for the same prices as the self serve. We did not take a guided tour and we now wish we had taken one to orient us. Be sure to go to the Villa dei Mysteries to see the most incredible fresco cycle there. You will not believe it is over 2000 years old both for the condition and the quality of the fresco. The stands outside the entrance gate have incredible granite (think adult slurpees made with the best lemons or oranges you will ever taste.<BR><BR>Paestum is an incredible sight as well. In some ways, its more incredible than Pompeii. We took a guided tour with Angelo who has been giving tours for over 20 years. We paid for an hour and got 2, and would have got more except we had to run. We did not even get to the Museum there. What we did do was stop at a factory where they make Mozzarella di Bufala. Wn enjoyed the most incredible panini- fresh mozzarella with a slice of prosciutto. There are myriad farm stands where we could have added some fresh ripe tomatoes to make our meal even better!<BR><BR>We did not get to Ercolano which we will do the next trip. We did go to Oplontis and visit the most incredible house there which is thought to be Poppea's home (she was Nero's second wife). The fresco's were incredible and the intimacy of visiting the almost deserted site was wonderful. Keep in mind that our visit was in July and the crowdswere larger than they would be at other times.<BR><BR>I would spend one day doing the Museo Arcologico in Naples and split that day with the Capodimonte museum, oplontis and/or Ercolono. You could probably do 2 or 3 of the listed items. Spend another day at Pompeii. Combine a day at Paestum with exploring along the Amalfitana.<BR><BR>Last tip,schedule Pompeii last. Buy a combo ticket at Ercolono and avoid spending your time in line at Pompeii.

Clara May 19th, 2002 02:23 PM

I have to disagree also. My husband and I spent five hours in Pompeii, and it wasn't enough time! I am planning to go back and spend a few days exploring the ruins. It was the highlight of an amazing three week honeymoon in Europe.

monica May 19th, 2002 02:50 PM

Thanks for your response. I have to say, I was a bit surprised that Jen was so dismissive of Pompei, I have also heard great things.

Diane May 19th, 2002 03:31 PM

We totally enjoyed Pompeii. We joined up with one of the English language groups that formed near the ticket windows, and it was certainly worth the extra cost. We would have missed much without it. And this place is so full of history, you want to get as much out of your visit as possible.

Doug Weller May 19th, 2002 03:52 PM

Having seen all 3, I'd rate them:<BR><BR>1. Herculaneum -- for the fantastic intactness (?) of the ruins. Even charred ceiling beams. <BR>2. Paestum, some of the best Greek stuff anywhere, although I hope the scaffolding is removed.<BR>3. Pompeii -- great also, but doesn't give a good a 'picture' as Herculaneum.

Sherry May 19th, 2002 04:08 PM

I would not skip Pompeii or Paestrum if I had the chance to be anywhere near either. I have to say that it is a little time consuming getting to Paestrum because it is about an hour from Salerno, but worth it.<BR>Doug. We were there less than two weeks ago and most of the scaffolding is removed.

Ruinlover May 19th, 2002 05:46 PM

If you are fascinated by ancient cultures and have waited a lifetime to see these ruins, by all means see them. I've been to both Pasteum and Pompeii, they are quite different from each other, besides the fact that one is Greek the other Roman. Pompeii is a complete tourist zoo outsside the ruins, but once inside that disappears. I would be there at the opening to have the least amount of crowds. I visited during oppresive heat and I'm afraid it colored my experience, this was in July.For the people I was with who had waited a lifetime to see Pompeii, they were not disappointed and the heat didn't bother them at all when compared to the opportunity of seeing Pompeii. <BR><BR>Paestum was much less crowded, at the end of the afternoon we had the whole place to ourselves and spent 3 hours walking around. It is imcredible. The area around it is rural and seems to be there to serve those visiting Paestum arrived early afternoon and left early the next morning with plenty of time to see the ruins.

tracy May 19th, 2002 06:31 PM

Your getting good advice from previous posters. My reply is a recommendation of our favorite Amalfi Coast driver: signori Carmine Monetti. He picked us up from our hotel in Sorrento and we "toured" to our hotel in Ravello. This four hour drive had stops in Positano, Amalfi and on to Ravello. Other stops made for breath taking sheer drops to the ocean below. This drive was $100 in 2000. Fax 081-878-4795 with dates of travel. Arrivederci!<BR>

Helen Donegan May 19th, 2002 07:26 PM

Hi Monica<BR>An Italian friend of mine wrote about his visit to Paestum - thought you might be interested:<BR>

brownie May 20th, 2002 12:34 AM

We went to Pompeii and Ercolano (and Mnt. Vesuvius). Pompeii takes about a day while Ercolano about 1/2 day. <BR><BR>I enjoyed Ercolano more because it was less crowded and perhaps more compact. So it was quite fun to just explore on your own.<BR><BR>We didn't take any guides for these places, but we bought the books.

GAC May 20th, 2002 08:20 AM

Nobody ever talks about Cuma or Baia. That is why these places are so special....

brownie May 20th, 2002 08:23 AM

Baia - do you mean the underwater city?<BR><BR>I was trying to get information on it before my trip ... but that didn't work out. <BR><BR>Where exactly is it?

Cheryl May 20th, 2002 09:35 AM

<BR>Dean---Is there some way to contact "Angelo" and make a reservation to tour Pompeii with him?<BR>Thanks<BR><BR>

TTT May 21st, 2002 04:59 PM


mary May 21st, 2002 05:14 PM

Two comments: if you go to pompeii- read up ahead because it is quite a large area filled with history and if you take along a guide book you spend so much of your time reading that it takes much longer to get through the area. (next time i go i will relax and take a guided tour so i do not have to read, walk and sightsee at one time.) also we went in nov, and many areas were locked. apparently we were supposed to tip the people working to open up the areas- i found this out from word of mouth AFTER going- i do not know if this is true when most of the tourists are there

dean May 21st, 2002 09:55 PM

Cheryl<BR><BR>Other than phoning the site and trying to contact him thru the office I don't know how to go about it. he is a fairly scruffy man who you would avoid if you saw him coming on a dark street but he is a suyperb guide.<BR><BR>Ruinlover... its a small point but Paestum is Roman. The temples were originally greek but the Greek town was destroyed and replaced with a Roman one. The temples may have undergone renovation by the Romans as well. The Temples were kept by the Romans because they worshipped the same gods as the Greeks (albeit with different names). Because both the Romans and Greeks thought that the gods lived (or at least visited) the interior of the temples, it would have been blasphemy to tear them down. The alters were actually in front of the temples opposite the entrance. The Temples themselves were not open to the public back in Roman days, but were used to hold statues of the gods and also votives (devotional statues) that the worshipper gave to the priest to place in the Temple.. Since each god or godess had their own favorite votive offering, we can identify who the Tmeple was dedicated to if there are any of the votives left.

Richard May 22nd, 2002 05:13 PM

In Ravello, make sure you have lunch at Hotel Santa Maria...what an excellent view, very romantic, peaceful and the food was outstanding!

kiki May 23rd, 2002 08:52 AM

Monica,<BR><BR>Here is what you need to do:<BR><BR>First, go to Herculeanum (aka Ercolano) b/c the ruins are, by far, the best condition here. Buy the small red book at the bookstore, which has plastic overlays over the photos of the ruins - these overlays depict how the ruins looked before they were ruined. Without this book, it is difficult to visualize, and you get so much more out of your visit.<BR><BR>2nd, go to the audio guide rental booth and rent the audio guide, then walk thru the ruins with the audio guide. You can do it in 2 hours, minimum. You will learn about the remains in the shops (like the ovens in the bakery), and what the history is about.<BR><BR>3rd, not too far away is Pompeii, so the next stop is to go to Pompeii to see what a city looked like. Pompeii is larger than Ercolano (was a weathly resort town), and you will also see the amphitheatres, which Ercolano doesn't have. This will take 2 hours. You can rent the audio guide here too, or just walk around b/c the map if very good that they give you, and since you already listened to the audio guide at Ercolano, you will recognize the objects within the ruins. Plus, you will have your overlay book as another reference.<BR><BR>Have a great time!

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