Question, Pompeii...your thoughts?


Nov 20th, 2013, 02:01 PM
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Question, Pompeii...your thoughts?

We are thinking of booking a driver to pick us (family of 4, 2 teen sons) up in Naples, and take us to Pompeii, then drive along the Amalfi coast, stopping a bit for lunch, etc. Then dropping us off at the train station in Naples at the end of the period. It is a splurge,just under 500 euros for four people, 9 hours...10 am til 7pm...then taking a train back into Rome, a day trip.

While splurging on that, I am wondering if we can get by with whatever tour guide/group is there. I hear there is ALWAYS a tour! NOT booking a private tour for an additional 350+ euros with this company. The date in January 2, and I haven't found a reasonable group tour to book on that date.


Is it better to train it all the way to Pompeii, have a private tour waiting for us (at just under 400), and train it back to Naples, possibly taking in the Archeological museum before heading home.

TOO, I have been advised to NOT book train tickets in advance, to just buy then the day of. Do you agree? We feel sure on the start time of the trip, but I guess would appreciate some flexibility coming home...(but don't want to get stuck!!)
mmmooommm is offline  
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Nov 20th, 2013, 03:01 PM
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I'm surprised you were advised to not book train tickets in advance. It's generally much cheaper if you do.

You can pick up a guide (or a guide book) at Pompeii. No need to reserve an expensive service in advance.

You might want to read up on it a bit before you go. The site is quite extensive and takes several hours to see at a minimum. It might be difficult to schedule the other activities for the same day.
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Nov 20th, 2013, 03:18 PM
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If you are coming from and returning to Rome, it sounds like a very expensive day and I can't see fitting in lunch on the AC; perhaps dinner.

A much cheaper way to do it is to take the train from Rome to Naples, transfer in the very same train station for Pompeii, use one of the guides at the gates, then either go back as you came, or take a taxi all the way back to Naples.

If you go with your original plan, you will not have time to see or enjoy any of the AC after your day in Pompeii. And it will be dark early. It really sounds like an expensive and difficult plan. I just don't think you can squeeze all that in on a day from Rome. I include seeing the museum in Naples as part of what you won't have time to do.

Either just go to Pompeii, or just go to Naples. Or really just go to Ostia Antica. Your family will have a lot more fun and be tortured a lot less by having to cover long distances round trip in a single day.
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Nov 20th, 2013, 03:31 PM
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I don't think either option is a good plan. For the first option, you will be traveling a long way and have little time to see the Pompeii site if you plan on being on the AC for lunch. And between Pompeii and lunch you'll have little time to see anything on the AC.

Option 2 - paying for a private tour (how long is the tour?) and then seeing the archeological museum is, again, short changing both places.

What will you think of the value of private drivers and tours if it's bucketing rain on January 2?

I would never see Pompeii as a day trip from Rome as it's just too far. If you feel strongly about doing this then take the trains and either get audios or a tour guide when you get to Pompeii. No need to spend lots of Euros on drivers and private tours.
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Nov 20th, 2013, 05:20 PM
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Why not just rent the handheld audio guide at Pompeii? We found it to be very informative as we strolled at our leisure.

We did Pompeii as a day trip from Rome (driving) and it was a very long day but we saw the majority of the ruins. But I would never try to do Napoli, Pompeii and Amalfi as a day trip from Rome! You will be running from place to place but seeing very little.
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Nov 20th, 2013, 06:11 PM
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If you do Pompeii as a day trip from Rome, you will have little time for anything else. I suggest taking the train from Rome to Naples and the circumvesuviana from Naples to Pompeii Scavi. There are excellent guides at the ticket office at Pompeii. I wouldn't tour the AC in January, the days are too short. By the time you train to Pompeii and visit the site - three or four hours, it will be getting dark. Nothing like a summer resort in January in the dark!
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Nov 20th, 2013, 07:16 PM
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Everyone who is advising against this plan is absolutely correct. They are all right about the weather and short day light.

500 euro is also blooming expensive, iand even more expensive when you consider it will be too dark to really see the AC by time you get there, and seeing Pompeii on your own is super easy

Train to Naples.
Fine the Circumvesuviana line. It is in the same station and trains run frequently.
Get off at Pompeii Scavi.
There are always people offering to be a guide right at the site, or rent the audio, or have a good guide book and map of the site.
You could stop in Naples for pizza (or dinner) on the way back to Rome.

You could also visit Ostia Antica from Rome more easily.

My advice is: get all your information on doing it at the ready, but decide for sure once you are actually in Rome and see how the weather is and how you are feeling about the trip.

A different day trip, but nice might be Orvieto.
Also, I saw that you are not too keen and Florence, so were skipping it, but it is a decent day trip from Rome. Both are options you can easily decide to do once you are there.
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Nov 20th, 2013, 07:33 PM
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Pompeii is a very long day - esp in Jan when the days are short and Pompeii opening hours are limited. You won;t have time to get to Pompeii, see much of anything and then tour the Amalfi coast )it would be dark by them) - unless you get a train at about 7 am. And it would be a VERY long day - doable IMHO only if you get a warm, pleasant day - not one that is chilly and rainy.
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Nov 20th, 2013, 09:40 PM
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If Pompeii visit is an essential part of this trip, it seems you have enough budget and days to stay overnight in Napoli (or Sorrento) and can take less hectic trips to Pompeii as well as Herculeum over two days. I have had a tour guide at Pompeii, but I felt I got more out by studying the site on my own as by watching
greg is offline  
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Nov 21st, 2013, 12:58 AM
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If I've understood this properly, the €500 is only to take you from Naples to Pompeii and back to Naples? That sounds very expensive. If it's Rome to Pompeii and back again then perhaps.

I'd skip it and go to Ostia antica instead. Much closer to Rome and gets rave revues.
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Nov 21st, 2013, 05:03 AM
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Just to make sure I understand: You're going to take the train from Rome to Naples, have a driver pick you up at the Naples train station, do the tour of Pompeii and Amalfi, return to the Naples station, and then train back to Rome? (I got tired just writing that.)

Too much.

As others have suggested, you can find qualified guides at the Pompeii site; no need to pay for an expensive tour.

I think others have misunderstood you to say that the 500-euro cost is just a trip to Pompeii. I assume the cost includes the tour of the Amalfi Coast. If so, I guess 500 euros for 4 people isn't awful. Stll, because of the time involved, I wouldn't do it.

Sassafras has laid out a decent plan -- Naples, train to Pompeii, dinner in Naples, return to Rome. That, in itself, is a long day, w/o the Amalfi tour. I suggest you follow that plan and use the 500 euros to splurge on a nice dinner in Naples. Do some research on that, because the area around the train station isn't the greatest. Or ...

If your heart's set on see the AC, skip Pompeii, have the driver pick you up at Naples and take you one a tour of the AC -- maybe Positano, Amalfi, Ravello: However, be aware that much of the area is closed down in winter.
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Nov 21st, 2013, 05:16 AM
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Given the short hours of daylight and possibility of rain I would not book anything in advance. How long are you in Rome? Wouldn't it be better to wait till you are there and have a forecast and pick a nice day, given that Pompeii is outside. It should be fine to book train tickets just one day ahead when you know which day you are going.

If you really need a tour there are plenty you can pick up at the gate. However, even this is not really necessary as there is so much information available that you can read ahead of time. The site gives you a really good extensive guide/map but it's actually available in full on their website so you can read it in advance. There are also many other sites, not to mention tons of guidebooks. Altogether way more info than you'll probably get from a guide you hire. Especially with teen sons I would give them the references and have them do some research. There is also an excellent course, given by a Yale Univ professor that is available free on line with transcripts, photos, videos.

There are many trains per day from Rome to Naples, and then you just go downstairs in the train station to connect to the local train which takes half an hour and the station is a very short walk to the entrance gate. photos of every aspect of the site with locations Truly a virtual tour blog great virtual tour
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Nov 21st, 2013, 05:19 AM
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ok, overwhelming response that it is not doable. THANKS!! Nothing like setting up an expensive and torturous day!!

The boys really want Pompeii. I like the idea of playing it by ear. We have two days that could work for this. I guess this means buying tickets at the station the day of....IS THIS GOOD ADVICE?

I think we will save the $. Train it all the way, skip Amalfi (I HATE beach scenes on grey days) do the tour audio rental thing or a "standing there, waiting on me" guide. Train it back to Naples, do the museum (which is open til 7:30 and works in the dark), grab a nearby pizza (any recommendations) and head back to Rome. ANY chance of not being able to buy a ticket back?

Thanks. I know you are saving me a headache.

As to spending the night there? I had thought of that, just don't want to schlep stuff, and pay for two nights rent (as we have an apt in Rome for the period). Rather have one long day. But, yes, trying to cram too much in it is nuts.

Thought: you read SO many tour and guide info, it is easy to get in the mindset that for the major sites, one needs a tour. I think we will use a good tour guide for the coliseum, forum and palatine, as that is highest interest too all, get a decent group access deal to Vatican, and call it a day! Opinion?? THANKS ALL!!
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Nov 21st, 2013, 06:48 AM
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I would definitely get a guide for the Vatican. They offer their own docent led tours or there are a number of walking tours you can take.
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Nov 21st, 2013, 07:24 AM
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Rec for pizza in Naples: Il Presidente. Not exactly in the high-rent district but walkable from the train station. It looks like a takeout place from the outside, but there's a dining room downstairs. Decent food and good prices.
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Nov 21st, 2013, 07:53 AM
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No-no chance of not being able to buy a ticket back. Get round trip tix in Rome to Naples. There are lots and lots of Circumvesuviana trains that go back and forth from Napoli Centrale to Pompeii Scavi (which is the stop you want) and beyond. Probably faster to do it this way than to try to drive to Pompeii.

I like the idea of seeing the Museum on the same day.
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Nov 21st, 2013, 08:07 AM
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I wouldn't think buying train ticket day of (Rome to Napoli) would be a problem but it is probably cheaper to buy ahead of time - and I can see where you might want to "play it by ear" as who knows what the days might hold weather wise. You know that in Naples you change to the "commuter train"? very cheap, no need to pre-purchase. I hope you have a lovely winter day - sunny and in the 50's!
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Nov 21st, 2013, 08:14 AM
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I simply took the train to Pompeii and then back to Naples. Also toured the site independently (no tour). Perhaps a guided tour may be of interest to you to provide historical background of the site, but I think you'd do well by yourself. Sometimes it's nice to splurge, but I'd say it's unnecessary in this case. I'd splurge on tours in Rome instead. There are many tours you may book online in advance and "skip the line" tickets. The following page has a good overview and tour options (listed on the right side):
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Dec 1st, 2013, 04:15 PM
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Just some advice about Pompeii itself. I've been there three times in the last 12 months and was there in January this year.
The best part about going in January is you'll practically have it all to yourselves. The worst part - be prepared for torrential rain. It rains like you wouldn't believe in Campania. A month ago I was in Pompeii and the heavens opened like we were in the tropics - and there is nowhere to shelter.
Take raincoats/rain jackets - forget umbrellas - they are next to useless as the rain comes from all directions and can blow sideways.

Also, don't be afraid to eat in the on-site café. They had some great food at very reasonable prices - we went there twice as I just had to re-fuel with coffee. Take water bottles as you can refill them at the various drinking fountains scattered about the site.

I didn't find the audio guide particularly helpful. It's very out of date and leads you to houses and areas that are completely blocked. You're better off with a guide -they are only 10 euro at the gate and they wait until a group of around 10 are assembled before they move off.

Make sure you visit the Villa of Mysteries. Try and make that your exit point as there is an exit gate there. The life size wall frescoes are astonishing.

Hope you have a great day out.
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