Pompeii help

Jul 28th, 2008, 11:00 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2008
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Pompeii help


Everyone has been so helpful, so I have a new question!

I have researched a lot on Pompeii (and my family's day trip from Rome), and definitely found that I should not do a one-day packaged tour due to the mandatory tourist shop stops.

I am comfortable with taking the trains myself, but really would like a guide actually at Pompeii. Does anyone have any recommendations? I have seen the mixed reviews from guides found at the entrance, and would really like to book a knowledgeable guide ahead of time. I haven't really seen any recommendations on the forum, though.

Even if someone knows of a different tour (other than Context as that is out of our price range for the day trip) that doesn't include the tourist shops and allows more time actually in Pompeii, that would be great.

thank you!
dcm58 is offline  
Jul 28th, 2008, 11:40 PM
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We read a guidebook in advance, took the train from Rome to Pompeii, then rented the inexpensive audio guide at Pompeii.

We went at our own pace, and saw the places that interested us.

One tip is to wear sturdy walking shoes. The cobblestones are quite large and very uneven.

If you take the local train between Pomepeii and Naples, another tip is to beware of pickpockets. From our seats, we watched parents use hand signals to instruct their kids on when to "hit" their victims.

Woody is offline  
Jul 29th, 2008, 03:37 AM
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The audio guides were used by friends of ours who thought they were good. Yes, there are guides waiting at the entrance, if you decide to do this then I would take my time and see which guides have engaging personalities and I would more or less interview a couple. From memory the guides charge about 10 euros per person for 2 hours?? We downloaded Rick Steve's podcasts and they were good. He's a bit corny but he gives a good overview. We also just hung around other groups who had good guides explaining the key areas. My HB teaches Ancient History, so I pretty much have my own tour guide
cathies is online now  
Jul 29th, 2008, 04:51 AM
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I rented the audio so I could go at my own pace and found it very informative. I spent 5 hours at Pompeii and could have spent more if I hadn't been so tired!

Some tips:
- I don't know when you're going (time of year) but there is little shade in Pompeii so wear hats and sunglasses.
- Wear comfortable, supportive, lace up shoes as you'll be walking on large rocks much of the time. They're smooth on top but rounded so the walking is a bit difficult. Sandles and flip flops would not be good here. Also it's very dusty.
- Bring plenty of water if it's going to be hot as there is only 1 cafe to buy drinks/food (it's to the left of the entrance). You cannot re-enter the site so leaving and buying something at the train station cafe is not an option.
- When you change trains in Naples go down the stairs to the Circumvesuviana line for the train to Pompeii. MAKE SURE you get on the correct train - look for the Pompeii Scavi train. Scavii means ruins and this is the train you want. The other Pompeii train will take you to the town of Pompeii which is no where near the excavation. The train station for Pompeii Scavi is just outside the ruins.
- If you rent an audio guide you'll need to leave some type of identification documentation. Bring a copy of your passport or driver's license to leave at the rental kiosk.

Are you going to the archeological museum in Naples? If you have time you should see this as this is where much of the Pompeii artifacts are. It was a great museum.
adrienne is offline  
Jul 29th, 2008, 05:47 AM
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We used Gaetano Manfredi as a private guide, his number is 338-725-5620
LAwoman is offline  
Jul 29th, 2008, 06:10 AM
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Can the audio guide be rented with a credit card? I thought I had read something about one of the things at Pompeii being cash only...
sherhatfield is offline  
Jul 29th, 2008, 07:22 AM
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If you're thinking of going the audio guide route, you might find this tour outline useful: tinyurl.com/5kbdav - do be aware that it's a very big site, and requires a LOT of walking. I actually enjoyed Herculaneum more - smaller, more compact, some shade, and just as interesting.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jul 29th, 2008, 09:29 AM
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There should be some guides by the ticket booth. IMHO, worth every penny. We had a guide for two hours and he knew most of the people working at the site, so he took us to a couple of places where the guided group tours are not allowed. Very knowledgeable, good pace, great disposition. This experience is Circa 1993, but I still hope it helps!!
Viajero2 is offline  
Jul 29th, 2008, 02:17 PM
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thank you for the advice. When did you take this guide? Do you remember about how much he was?

It seems that many people had good experiences with either the audio guide or picking a guide at the entrance?

Also, thanx for the additional advice on the train situation. I have copied the exact instructions on the train, so I am (fairly!) confident we will take the right ones. This way we can spend a bit of time in Naples on the way back, too - visit the museum.
dcm58 is offline  
Jul 29th, 2008, 02:31 PM
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Our hotel arranged for a driver to Pompeii (we were in Ravello) and a guide met us at the gate. The guide was an energetic and well-informed older gentlemen. We were very pleased with the tour. Pompeii is big and we didn't want to spend all day - just a few hours. The guide showed us the highlights and was well worth it. I wish I remember his name and I'm sorry I don't. You could go to the gate and talk to a few guides and see what they offer. They do have to be "official" and have a special badge...

Do bring water, hat and sunglasses as well as comfy, secure shoes as mentioned. Even in Sept it was quite hot.

good luck and enjoy!

gruezi is offline  
Jul 29th, 2008, 02:55 PM
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I too endorse the suggestions for bringing water, sunglasses, sun hat, walking shoes. It can be very hot, very dry, very dusty.

We did not use a guide and I wish we had. There were some pleasant and engaging middle age and older gentlemen available at the entrance, and I was too wary of being hustled to consider it. Mistake.

Pompeii is a fascinating, awesome place, but also spread out and hard to sort out what is where. I would strongly recommend a guide. Two hours for 10 euro (if that is the cost) is a steal. Sounds like the audio guide is another good option.
annw is offline  
Jul 29th, 2008, 03:35 PM
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We were there about 5 years ago and were accosted at the gate by very expensive guides. Go with the audio guide unless you can find one of the less expensive folks. Also, make certain you get the most recent map! I wasn't much for history until seeing Pompeii-it was incredible.
TDudette is online now  
Jul 29th, 2008, 04:42 PM
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From my experience, the private guides charge about 80 euros a tour, and do NOT charge per person. So, if you can find some people who speak English, you can reduce your cost. If you get 8 people, its 10 Euros per person. IMO, they are well worth the increased relative costs over audio guide, because you can spend as much or as little time on a particular sight as you want. In either case, you are in for an extradordinary experience.
zorrosf is offline  
Jul 29th, 2008, 06:16 PM
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zorrosf may well be right about the cost of the tour guide. I was just listening to other people, we didn't actually hire a guide ourselves.
cathies is online now  
Jul 29th, 2008, 07:15 PM
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My last trip was a second visit to Pompeii. A guide at the entrance offered his services for 90E (this was 3 years ago!). I asked how long his "tour" was, he said 2 hours. I raised my eyebrows at his price and time. He asked how long I wanted to spend and I replied probably about 4 hours. He raised his eyebrows at my level of interest.

I did the audio guide and was very happy with it. It provided the flexibility for me to visit sites at Pompeii I didn't see before, skip around, and the right amount of information for my interests.

I do believe you need cash and you must leave a driver's license (US OK) or some form of security for the audio guide. I opted for license rather than credit card.

Buon viaggio!
Dayle is online now  
Jul 30th, 2008, 12:51 PM
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dcm - we used him in Oct 05, he was very good, he charged us 60 euro each (for 2) for 2 hrs. I figured it was worth it for a world class site that I'm only likely to see once in my life. He's quite well known and I'd be surprised if he's no longer doing it.
LAwoman is offline  
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