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Princessrose Jun 2nd, 2015 09:55 AM

Pompeii, Herculaneum
My friends and I are planning a trip to Italy in October. We've already decided to go to the Museum in Naples but are debating about going to Herculaneum vs. Pompeii. Would appreciate your opinions. Thank you.


PalenQ Jun 2nd, 2015 10:05 AM

There is NO comparison to the two - go to Pompeii and if have an hour or so squeeze in Ercolo - a small hole in the ground but of course intriguing but nothing so large or substantial as Pompeii.

Rubicund Jun 2nd, 2015 10:50 AM

I think that Herculaneum would object to bring called "a small hole in the ground ". In many ways it's better preserved than Pompeii but it's on a much smaller scale. It's called Ercolano locally.

Pompeii is first choice, but Ercolano is still worth a visit .

thursdaysd Jun 2nd, 2015 10:56 AM

I referred Herculaneum. It requires a great deal less trekking under hot sun (little shade at Pompeii), while still conveying a good picture of a Roman town. Plus the second stories survived in a number of cases, while they are missing at Pompeii. I think there is more art work in situ, too.

Of course, ideally you would see both, but if I had to pick one on a future trip it would be Herculaneum.

PalenQ Jun 2nd, 2015 01:41 PM

It's like going to Arizona-Utah area - what are you gonna see - Bryce Canyon which IMO is more awesome in many ways than the grand Grand Canyon or even Zion - go to that area and not see Pompeii - unthinkable even if flawed. You come home your friends say did you see Pompeii - you say 'naw' we did Herculaneum instead and they say "what?"

MmePerdu Jun 2nd, 2015 02:15 PM

I agree with thursdaysd's take on Herculaneum.

My blog:

kybourbon Jun 2nd, 2015 02:28 PM

You can do both. They aren't very far apart on the Circumvesuviana train line. An entrance ticket to one site is 13€ or you can pay 22€ and get in all five sites listed (although Pompeii has the most expensive entrance fee). I've been to both (more than once) and prefer Pompeii, but it requires more trekking around to see things. Herculaneum is very compact/small. Pompeii is huge and was a city of about 20,000. Herculaneum was only 4000 or so.

Another option is to get the Campania Artecard Tutta La Regione 3 day 32€. It gets you in your first two sites free (the museum in Naples is on the site list also), discounts after that and includes 3 days (consecutive) of transport (within Naples metro/trams/funicular/bus, the Circumvesuviana train, buses along the Amalfi coast). The other Campania Artecards don't include transport (note that the 7 day Tutta La Regione doesn't include transport).

jeterray Jun 2nd, 2015 06:06 PM

I will likewise be in Rome in October. We plan to take a train to Pompeii, but we would also like to see Herculaneum. Is this reasonable for one day from Rome? Naples to Pompeii ? How long to spend in each ? What is the best way to get from Pompeii to Herculaneum ? Would it be helpful to hire a guide in Pompeii ? Thanks all. Can't this info from books.

Blueeyedcod Jun 2nd, 2015 06:37 PM

Often for people the decision comes down to Fiorelli's plaster casts of the victims. They are only in Pompeii. People are very curious about them.

On the other hand, sometimes the boatsheds in Herculaneum are open and you can glimpse the skeletons of the people who huddled in there for shelter and were only discovered in 1982. You can't walk to the entrance and gawk - you can only see them from a respectful distance as you cross the footbridge into the site.

I would make your choices based upon time. Is this a day trip from Rome? If so, see Herculaneum and the museum. If you're overnighting somewhere nearby, see both. Or even see the Villa at Oplontis or the villas at Stabiae.

Seamus Jun 2nd, 2015 09:04 PM

Also looking for basic logistic info on getting to Pompeii as a day trip from Rome. Lots of tour buses on offer, almost all combining Naples and Pompeii. Are there other options using public transport, or is that too onerous?

thursdaysd Jun 2nd, 2015 09:17 PM

Regular train to Naples (see or for schedules), local commuter train - Circumvesuviana - to Pompeii and/or Herculaneum ( ). Check your guidebook for which station to get off at.

Flame123 Jun 2nd, 2015 09:46 PM

Having done them both several years ago, in one day, but with a private guide who was amazing and traveled with us on the train from one to the other, I would not miss each one of them. They are so different from each other that I would be hard pressed to make a decision. If you think you may return to this area some day, maybe decide on one over the other. But if not, and this type of "attraction" really interests you, I would do them both. It will be a long day, but invest in a good guide and it will be worth your while. Enjoy.

PalenQ Jun 3rd, 2015 06:51 AM

Are there other options using public transport, or is that too onerous?>

Yes like thursdays says but it will take nearly 3 hours each way to get there and cost a bit - go to to book discounted tickets that could say a ton each way Rome to Naples - the CircumVesuviana train is a flat-fare commuter train you buy that ticket once in Naples at the CircumVesuviana station - reached by passageways from Naples Centrale station - a short walk - follow the signs.

thursdaysd Jun 3rd, 2015 07:02 AM

"it will take nearly 3 hours each way to get there"

Versus how long by tourist bus? (Especially if the bus is picking up from multiple hotels).

Looked it up - according to viamichelin just under three houts from Rome to Pompeii, with no allowance for for picking people up.

kybourbon Jun 3rd, 2015 08:29 AM

>>>Yes like thursdays says but it will take nearly 3 hours each way<<<

It shouldn't. The fast train between Rome/Naples takes 1:10. The Circumvesuviana between Naples/Pompeii takes 36 minutes. The Circumvesuviana between Naples/Ercolano Scavi takes 17 minutes. Depending on which site you choose, it should take less than 2 hours (depends on timing of trains, but the Circumvesuviana departs every 30 minutes). There are also a couple of express runs on the Circumvesuviana that are faster (they only make a few stops) during rush hour.

Pompeii/Ercolano Scavi takes 19 minutes as they are not that far apart. Pompeii entrance is right across the street from the station, but Herculaneum is a couple of blocks walk.

MmePerdu Jun 3rd, 2015 09:33 AM

"...Pompeii entrance is right across the street from the station, but Herculaneum is a couple of blocks walk."

Just for the sake of accuracy, the entrance to Herculaneum is at the bottom of the site and a bit over half a mile from the train, not a couple of blocks, but a pleasant enough walk through the town.

kybourbon Jun 3rd, 2015 10:28 AM

>>>Just for the sake of accuracy, the entrance to Herculaneum is at the bottom of the site and a bit over half a mile from the train<<<

Google says it's a 5 minute walk and 450m. Coming back may take a tad longer as it's all uphill.

Princessrose Jun 3rd, 2015 10:40 AM

Thank you all for your input and suggestions. It is truly appreciated.

Seamus Jun 4th, 2015 08:30 AM

Ditto on the thanks! All in all, looks like some of the organized tours may be a decent deal. Still pondering...

Blueeyedcod Jun 4th, 2015 07:01 PM

The organised bus tours from Rome - AVOID!

They take 12 hours - and two of those 12 hours are in Pompeii.

If you fancy sitting on a bus with multiple 'comfort stops', visits to 'places of culture' - aka a cameo/coral factory, a lousy lunch in a dive restaurant and then a complete rush around one-tenth of Pompeii, then you'll enjoy your day...

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