A weekend trip to Pompeii and Herculaneum

After years of thinking about it, we arranged a weekend trip to Pompeii in autumn this year.    Flights to Naples are frequent, accommodation is plentiful and the crowds are fewer – plus it’s cooler!

The Basilica, Pompeii
The Basilica, Pompeii

Trains depart Naples (on the Circumvesuviana line) to Pompeii (alight at Pompeii Scavi-Villa dei Misteri station) and three stops after Pompeii you alight for Vesuvius/Herculaneum (Ercolano station).

The frequency of trains from Naples is thirty minutes and the duration of the journey is about the same.    So, the logistics are easy.

Pompeii
Pompeii
Temple of Apollo with Vesuvius, Pompeii
Temple of Apollo with Vesuvius, Pompeii
Large Theatre with Theatre Portico and Gladiatorial Barracks at rear, Pompeii
Large Theatre with Theatre Portico and Gladiatorial Barracks at rear, Pompeii

Pompeii, buried in ash from the eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD, needs no introduction.    It is enormous site and the extensive remains are impressive, beyond belief.   Herculaneum is much smaller, but even better preserved than Pompeii due to it being buried in a mud-slide that later petrified, completely entombing the sea-side resort.    The rock was painstakingly chiselled away during the 1900’s revealing virtually intact buildings – like a wine shop with its original Roman shelving and painted advertisements!

Herculaneum with Vesuvius
Herculaneum (east) with Vesuvius
Cardo IV Superiore, Herculaneum
Cardo IV Superiore, Herculaneum

 

At Pompeii the entrance to the site is a short walk from the train station.   At Herculaneum it’s a fifteen minute walk downhill from Ercolano station.    However, when you arrive at Ercolano purchase bus tickets (at the train station) and visit Vesuvius in the morning.   The bus will drop you near the summit and await your return whilst you make the two-hour walk to the summit and back.   After returning from Vesuvius to Ercolano, visit Herculaneum in the afternoon.   (Pompeii will take you a whole day to see).

Vesuvius
Vesuvius
Summit of Vesuvius looking west
Summit of Vesuvius looking west

Vesuvius is an easy but uneven walk up from the bus park.    A fascinating experience, with tremendous views over the Bay of Naples, Sorrento and the Island Capri.

Along with a visit to the old town in Naples and some fine Italian cuisine, it is one of the best short breaks from London.

For further information, here is the official website:

http://www.pompeiisites.org/

Wall mosaic, Herculaneum
Wall mosaic, Herculaneum

 

Herculaneum boat shed skeletons, (models, originals in the National Archaeological Museum, Naples)
Herculaneum boat shed skeletons, (models, originals in the National Archaeological Museum, Naples)

Leave a Reply