Yes, we have read a thousand times that Rome is the Eternal City and the truth is that the saying is right: Rome is an open-air museum with endless streets, squares, fountains and corners to discover.
But if you have some time to escape for a day during your trip, Pompeii is the destination par excellence: there are several combinations of already organized excursions that will allow you to visit this unique archaeological jewel in the world without having to worry about anything.
Still not convinced? Taking an excursion to Pompeii from Rome will complete your trip: take note of these reasons why visiting Pompeii from Rome is a must.
1. It has one of the best preserved archaeological remains in the world
The main reason why Pompeii is worth visiting is because it is a city of record. Although it was not the victim of the most powerful volcanic eruption in history, it is one of the first episodes of the eruption of a volcano narrated and told in first person.
On the morning of August 24, 1979 (almost two thousand years ago!), Vesuvius erupted and swept away with its lava everything in its path: streets, houses, temples? The inhabitants of the city of Pompeii, who did not even know that the mountain they glimpsed on the horizon was not a mountain but a volcano, barely had time to escape.
The result? A city unique in the world, petrified under the lava, of which a large part of its ruins have been preserved in very good condition - despite the circumstances. There is no other place like it on the planet and its history, its landscape, its ruins and the remains of what once was this ancient Roman city leave no one indifferent.
2. It is a paradise for archaeologists, historians and nature lovers
There is no doubt that Pompeii is a Mecca for historians and archaeologists who travel the world to admire the remains (incredibly well preserved) of this city that was paralyzed under a blanket of lava.
The plan of the city is very easy to identify: its cobblestone streets have been maintained as they were two thousand years ago and you will pass temples, houses, palaces.... The baths have also been preserved, the forum where the social life of the city took place? Even what appeared to be a bar!
The archaeological remains of Pompeii have allowed historians from all over the world to study and discover what life was like at the time and to transmit it to us visitors so that we can participate in this interesting adventure. Here is a National Geographic report about it that I recommend reading before going to Pompeii.
You will even have the chance to see the petrified remains of more than 10 citizens (adults and children) who were paralyzed by lava while trying to flee from the eruption of Vesuvius. Pompeii is a true open-air museum unlike anywhere else in the world, and you'll see it all in the open air as you stroll around!
3. Touring its ruins with a guided tour is (almost) like traveling back in time
If touring a historical site with an expert guide is already a plus, if you choose Pompeii for a guided tour, you will have made the right choice. The experience with a professional guide will make us travel back in time: he will immerse you in the life of ancient Pompeii, the routines of its citizens, he will tell you which part of the city corresponds to each of the houses or temples you see...
For a moment you will lose track of time and you will have the feeling of being a citizen of the ancient and dynamic Pompeii. In addition, he will tell you more details about the eruption of Vesuvius whose lava devastated the entire city.
In short, get ready to immerse yourself in the customs of one of the best preserved historic cities in the world.
4. Climbing Vesuvius is an unparalleled experience
The cause of everything is still standing on the horizon, as if guarding the city that was paralyzed in time. The panoramic view is spectacular and can be appreciated as soon as you arrive in the area, but if you want to give your visit a plus, do not hesitate to extend to Vesuvius and even climb to its summit to have the most spectacular views of the Bay of Naples and the ruins of Pompeii.
How many times have you had before you the crater of a volcano? Probably not many (or even none), so what better way to get your first experience than climbing one of the most famous volcanoes in the world. I'm not going to fool you, the climb is not overly easy, it 's quite steep and requires a minimum of fitness, but I assure you it's worth it. Now that you've made it this far, how can you miss the jewel in the crown?
Take water (or buy it there), protect yourself from the cold if you go in winter and don't forget a hat if you go in spring or summer season and start the climb without thinking too much. It's worth it!
5. It has frescoes more than 2000 years old.
As you walk through the incredible cobblestone streets of Pompeii, you will notice buildings that were petrified under the lava, but their structure is still in perfect condition. You will even be able to see the details of some of the frescoes that have been preserved even though they are over 2000 years old!
Clearly its amphitheater cannot compete with the Roman Colosseum, but its authenticity and the setting in which it is located make it an incredibly authentic place. It won't be hard for you to imagine the social life that took place in the forum, how life was inside the houses, the customs in the temples?
6. It offers tranquility, nature and fresh air
It is true that in Rome you will spend much of your time walking through its streets and squares and enjoying its terraces (which are not few!), but you will still be in a big capital where traffic, noise and chaos are the order of the day.
To complete your day with a day of tranquility, outdoors and surrounded by nature, Pompeii is a very good idea. As soon as you arrive, Vesuvius will greet you from the horizon, you can take a great walk through the archaeological ruins of the city and if you dare, you can complete the day with a climb to the crater of the volcano or a walk along the Bay of Naples facing the sea. Sounds idyllic, doesn't it?
In my opinion, if you are looking for a real contrast to your visit to Rome, Pompeii is your destination. Other cities like Florence or Pisa or even Tuscany are also potential destinations, but you would need more time to tour them and in a single day you would not get to cover even the most relevant. It would be better to leave them for a future trip where you can dedicate more time exclusively to them and opt for a day in the sun and outdoors in the area of Pompeii and Naples.
7. It is possible to include a visit to Naples
Its proximity to Naples means that many of the guided tours to Pompeii from Rome include a stop in the pizza capital to taste the real Neapolitan recipe.
For a little more money, you can include this stop on your tour, which will allow you to take a lunch break, have a good panoramic view of the city and avoid having to worry about bringing lunch or having to buy something of poorer quality in the vicinity of Pompeii.
Its typical dough with thick edges, the exquisiteness of its cheeses and the softness of the tomato base will make you hallucinate even with a simple Margarita pizza. And all this, accompanied by the most authentic Neapolitan atmosphere, a great plan to complete your trip to Rome! Here is a list of the best places to eat during your trip to Pompeii.
8. There are organized excursions from Rome
The demand to visit Pompeii is such that organized group tours depart daily from Rome that include the idea and return by private transport, entrance tickets with skip-the-line access to the archaeological park, the guided tour and even lunch. Best of all, the guided tour is in English, so if you don't speak English or Italian, you won't have a problem.
If you also want to take the opportunity to visit other nearby landmarks such as Vesuvius itself or even Naples, there are routes that take you to visit them in the same day.
You can also choose between completely private excursions, in which only you and your companions will participate, or take a more economical option in which you will join a larger group of travelers. It all depends on your budget and the time you have available, so don't worry, because you will be spoilt for choice:
- Excursion to Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius from Rome: Enjoy a 13-hour excursion where you can tour the ruins of Pompeii and then visit Mount Vesuvius (if it's summer) or visit the city of Naples (if it's winter).
- Excursion to Pompeii and Naples from Rome: Take advantage of the day to get away from the hustle and bustle of Rome and visit Pompeii and Naples in a single day accompanied by a tour guide.
- Excursion to Pompeii, Positano and Amalfi Coast from Rome: Discover the archaeological remains of Pompeii and enjoy the Amalfi Coast, one of the most touristic places in Italy.
- 2-day excursion to Pompeii, Naples, Capri and Sorrento from Rome: Get to know the most important sites of southern Italy in total comfort, so that you only have to worry about enjoying yourself.
9. It is the perfect distance for a getaway
Pompeii is not, as such, the most popular holiday destination in Italy and is usually visited as a complement during a trip to other of the country's most popular cities, such as neighboring Naples or in this case, Rome.
That's why taking advantage of your stay in the Italian capital to discover Pompeii is a great idea: it takes relatively little time to get there, in one day you will have enough time to soak up the environment and its history and at a budget level, it is quite affordable. In fact, I have prepared an article on how to get to Pompeii from Rome that you might be interested in.
In conclusion, Pompeii has all the conditions to complete your trip to Rome if you have enough time to add this visit to your travel agenda. Even if you plan to visit other cities in Italy in the future, such as Florence, Venice or Milan, distances make getting there more complicated or even unfeasible if you have just enough time.
10. More than 4 million people a year can't be wrong
I'm not really a fan of mass tourism, but the fact that Pompeii gathers before its archaeological remains more than 4 million visitors who cross the world every year to visit its streets, is a sign that this is a city we should mark on the map.
And when you get there, you will see that it is worth it. I don't know anyone who has ever regretted taking time out of their trip to Rome to escape here and discover the scene of one of the most tragic episodes in Italian history.