Pompeii is located in the center of the Italian peninsula, very close to Naples. Its location could not be more perfect: to the north rises the imposing volcano Vesuvius and, to the south, the fabulous Amalfi Coast.
1. The best excursions to Pompeii from Rome
Visiting Pompeii is a journey back in time. This city of ancient Roman times is a must for anyone who wants to walk through its remains and recreate how the ancient Romans lived. Here is a review of the best excursions from Rome.
- Day trip to Pompeii and Naples, From $ 155
2. Day trip to Pompeii and Naples
With this day trip to Pompeii and Naples you will visit the ancient city of Pompeii with a professional guide (essential to discover what happened in Pompeii) and you will not have to worry about buying tickets for Pompeii, as they are included in the price. I will tell you more about Pompeii below, but what I can tell you now is that if comfort and organized transportation are a premium for you, as well as not having to worry about visiting times or how to buy tickets, honestly, this is the best option!
In addition, on this tour, you will also have the opportunity to visit Naples, one of the most interesting cities in Italy for its culture, architecture, and wonderful views of the Mediterranean Sea.
What will you see
- You will tour by bus the must-see places of Naples such as its Royal Palace, Plebiscito Square... while listening to the history of the city.
- You will make a stop for lunch which is included in the price.
- You will visit the archaeological park of Pompeii, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
3. Day trip to Pompeii and Vesuvius
If you are looking for a complete excursion that allows you to discover the history of what happened in Pompeii, do not hesitate to book this day trip to Pompeii and Vesuvius. Its value for money, its comprehensive tour, and the fact that it includes a professional guide, entrance fees, and lunch, make it an ideal option for any traveler.
In the winter season - from November 20 to March 31 - for weather reasons, the visit to Mt Vesuvius is replaced by a visit to the city of Naples. You will tour it in a panoramic bus and then there will be free time for you to stroll around.
What will you see
- You will climb Mt Vesuvius, an active volcano. You will walk along its slopes and enjoy incredible views from its crater.
- To pick yourself up, you will get to savor an authentic Neapolitan pizza.
- You will finally arrive in Pompeii to walk through its streets, its buildings, its monuments...
4. What to see in Pompeii
Pompeii was involuntarily frozen in time. More than 2,000 years ago, in 79 BC, the Vesuvius volcano erupted, burying the entire Roman city. And it was not rediscovered until 1550 when excavations began to free it from the mantle of lava that covered it. Today, walking through its ruins is a journey through time and a silent reminder of the force of nature.
If you want to make the most of your visit to this archaeological park, here are the must-see spots in Pompeii:
Undoubtedly, it was the epicenter of the life of the city. This was where the social, religious, and political life of Pompeii was concentrated. In its 150 meters long we can still enjoy some of the columns that surrounded it and imagine how it was originally filled with statues.
Temple of Apollo
Dedicated to the god of the sun and reason, this is one of the emblematic places of Pompeii, very close to the forum. It was built between the eighth and seventh centuries BC, being one of the oldest in the city. Today, several of its columns and the stairs that gave access to its podium are still preserved.
Up to 5,000 spectators could be concentrated in the stands of this theater. As was the case in other similar venues in times of Ancient Rome, the arrangement of the spectators was based on social class: the poorest went at the top and the richest at the bottom.
Although its dimensions are smaller (it can accommodate up to 1,000 spectators) its acoustics are much better. In fact, today it continues to host theatrical and musical shows, a privilege to see them from the stands!
It is true that its Roman brother, the Colosseum, gets the fame, but the Pompeii amphitheater is the oldest surviving amphitheater. It dates back to 70 BC and could hold up to 20,000 spectators. As in other similar arenas, gladiators passed through here to display their bravery.
If after visiting Pompeii and its Amphitheater you still want to visit the Colosseum in Rome, don't forget that back in the Eternal City you can book a guided tour of the Colosseum or simply buy tickets to visit it at your leisure. Here are the guides we have written about it so you can consult them: Colosseum Tours and Colosseum Tickets.
If there is one place that always attracts the attention of the traveler in Pompeii, it is this building. It is a former brothel, the most important of the city. Walk around its two floors, see its stone beds and appreciate its frescoes: from erotic motifs to engravings on the walls made by visitors and prostitutes. The upper floor was dedicated to the richest clients, while the lower floor was reserved for the poorest.
Orto dei fuggiaschi
In this place we can put a face to the tragedy of the Vesuvius eruption. 13 people who tried to flee were found here. Lava completely covered their bodies, turning them into statues with faces of despair you can still see today.
Of the different thermal baths that existed in the city, these are the best preserved. Come here to be impressed by the vault that covered its baths, differentiated between cold, warm, and hot, and its gym surrounded by columns or its outdoor pool.
Casa de Fauno
It is one of the most important buildings to visit. It is one of the largest and most luxurious Roman houses known in the city. Different works of art that decorated it have been found here, such as the bronze statue of a faun or a mosaic of the battle of Issus. However, today, you have to go to the Archaeological Museum of Naples to see the authentic pieces.
Villa of the Mysteries
Actually, this villa was located on the outskirts of the city but it is worth coming here because it is one of the better-preserved buildings in the area. Inside, its frescoes have stood the test of time, so you can travel back to Roman times with greater clarity.
Carolina's Traveller Tip
Avoid traveling to Pompeii in summer. Outside the summer season, there will be fewer people and, above all, you will be able to better enjoy the experience without the sweltering heat of July and August exhausting you.
5. Details of interest about the excursions to Pompeii
As you can see, the easiest and most recommended option to go to Pompeii from Rome is to take an organized tour, which will allow you to go there and back on the same day without having to worry about schedules or public transportation and without wasting a single minute of your visit.
- Distance from Rome to Pompeii: 242 kilometers
- Travel time: 2:30 hours by road, 2:05 hours approximately by train (one way).
- Departing point of these day trips: some tours set a meeting point (such as Piazza del Popolo) and others pick you up at your hotel, don't forget to check what is exactly the meeting point depending on what is more convenient for you!
- What time do you leave: around 7:30 am (it is a long excursion, it is worth getting up a little early).
- Transportation: you will get to Pompeii in a comfortable, air-conditioned premium bus.
- What you will find in this visit: you will visit one of the most impressive Roman ruins complexes in the world.
6. Why go to Pompeii from Rome?
Although Rome is an open-air museum and was the epicenter of Roman civilization, it is worth going to Pompeii to see from up-close how life was in the times of the Roman Empire. The layout of its streets, the structure of their homes, their places of worship and leisure... All this and more can be found in one of the most important archaeological parks in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
To get the most out of your visit, book an excursion that allows you to visit the archaeological complex with a guided tour. Also, if you wish, you can combine your trip with other nearby destinations such as Naples, Mt Vesuvius, or the Amalfi Coast.
7. Will I like Pompeii?
If you are a history, architecture, or art buff, do not think twice: visiting Pompeii will be a fascinating experience. Discovering what happened in Pompeii and admiring the imposing Vesuvius, the volcano that changed the course of history, is completely worth it.
8. Where to eat on your trip to Pompeii
If you are thinking of booking an excursion from Rome to Pompeii, most of them include food in the price. If, on the other hand, it is not included or you prefer to visit these ruins on your own, here are some tips on where and what to eat in Pompeii.
The proximity to Naples means that this area has spectacular gastronomy. You can't miss the opportunity to eat an authentic Neapolitan pizza, best known for its wood oven-cooked dough with chewy, bubbly edges. Also, the coffee in this area is one of the best in the world and, if you want to end your meal on a high note, order a limoncello, brought from the neighboring Amalfi coast.
- Caupona: For those who want to travel back in time, this restaurant on the outskirts of the park could be your choice. The atmosphere recreates Roman frescoes and so does its menu: they offer dishes inspired by what the ancient Romans ate. Plus, you can dress up as one of them. Menu price: 60€.
- I matti: It is worth going to the modern part of the city (very close to Pompeii) to try an authentic Neapolitan pizza at this place. They have an excellent selection of local wines and the quality/price ratio is good.
- Varnelli: This nice restaurant is a safe option. Its menu ranges from delicious pizzas (from 8€) to a wide menu of first and second courses. Don't miss their extensive cocktail menu.
9. What is the best time to visit Pompeii?
In Pompeii, the winters are long (from November to March) and this is when you will find a cooler climate. However, summers last from June to August, and the heat can be suffocating.
Undoubtedly, if there is a perfect season to visit Pompeii that is spring, when temperatures are milder and it is not so crowded with tourists. August is the least advisable month for several reasons: there are more tourists (and therefore more queues), many restaurants close in Naples as it is their vacation month and the heat is sultry.
10. What is the best day of the week to visit Pompeii?
The archaeological park opens every day of the week at 9:00 a.m. (8:30 a.m. on Saturdays). Its closing time depends on the time of year: in winter they usually close around 3:30 p.m., while in summer you can extend your visit until 6 p.m. In any case, we recommend you to check their official website for updated schedules.
My advice is to arrive as soon as possible because you will be able to explore the archaeological complex with cooler temperatures and fewer crowds. Also, I recommend you to visit Pompeii from Monday to Friday since weekends are when most tourists visit these ruins.
One last tip: if you go on your own and want to save on the entrance fee, go on the first Sunday of the month - it's free!
11. Festivals and events in Pompeii
Want to make your visit even more special? Attend one of the events and exhibitions held in the ruins of Pompeii. For example, the 'Pompeii Theatrum Mundi' festival has been running for years in the summer months inside the archaeological park. Its ancient theater hosts contemporary dance performances and classic plays, from Sophocles to Shakespeare.
12. What should I take with me to Pompeii?
When walking through the ruins of the city, you will find that very few places offer shade. So, we recommend that you carry a small backpack with a water bottle that you can refill for free at the various fountains along the route.
Don't forget to wear comfortable shoes because walking around Pompeii can take you an average of 4 hours. And, in the sunny months, wear a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. And, of course, don't leave your camera behind to keep the memories of this unique walk.
If you have a large backpack and don't want to carry it with you during the whole tour, don't worry because at the entrance you can find lockers to leave it there.
13. Top 5 Pompeii tips
If you have read this far, you will have more than enough information on how to get to Pompeii from Rome and what to see once there. But, just so that you don't miss anything, here are the 5 key tips to keep in mind during your visit to Pompeii.
1. Book your entrance ticket or excursion to Pompeii in in advance: most excursions already include the entrance ticket, so you don't have to worry about it. But if you decide to go on your own, buy it in advance. You will avoid long lines, especially during the weekend.
2. Find an excursion that suits your travel style: choose between dedicating all your time to Pompeii or combining it with a panoramic tour of Naples or climbing the Vesuvius volcano.
3. Better with a guide: Keep in mind that you will be touring a city in ruins so, although there are some indicative signs, you will understand much better what you are touring if you're shown how life was millennia ago in that same place. In most tours you will have a local guide who will explain every nook and cranny of the ruins and, if you go on your own, we recommend paying a little more and renting an audio guide at the ticket office.
4. Must-see spots: The forum, the amphitheater, the theaters, and the lupanar are not to be missed in your tour. Visit them all!
5. Be prepared for an outdoors experience: if it's the hot season, don't forget your water bottle, hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. If rain is forecast, you'll appreciate keeping an umbrella and raincoat handy. And, whether it's hot or cold... wear comfortable shoes!
14. If you are interested in Pompeii, you will also be interested in...
If you have already decided to visit Pompeii from Rome, I think you will not go wrong and I am sure you will remember this excursion for the rest of your life! If you are still not sure if this is the best destination for you, here's another article about Best Day Trips from Rome that you might find interesting. In it, you will find details about other excursions that you can do to places surrounding Rome, or picturesque towns and villages around Italy that you can visit during your trip to the Eternal City.
If on the other hand, you want to make the most of your days in the capital of Italy, here's a couple links to other guides to Rome so you can better organize your days there. Here you have the one about Rome Pass and other passes if you want to get a tourist card that allows you to save on visits to monuments, museums, and attractions or this one about Best Rome Tours if you are the kind of traveler who likes to explore the cities and not leave a single corner to discover.
Frequently asked questions
Will I see bodies of people in Pompeii?
Yes, there are around 1.000 bodies covered in pumice and ash scattered across the ruins, that will show you the last moments of the inhabitants of Pompeii.
Can I bring a stroller into the exhibition?
No, strollers are not permitted into the exhibition since it contains numerous delicate artifacts and dug-up material.
What attractions are there to see in Pompeii?
In your visit, you will see the grand Amphitheatre of Pompeii, the Villa of the Mysteries which contains the finest example of Ancient Rome-era painting, the Temple of Jupiter, the Temple of Apollo, and the Garden of fugitives, that concentrates the largest gathering of Pompeii victims.