Pompeii have been top of my list since watching the movie a couple years ago. I am just weird in a way when I will always have a desire to see the sight in person with my naked eye. I am always so fascinated when I get to see something in person after knowing about it. The Trevi Fountain was one, Prague was another! I am determined to head to Pompeii after knowing about it in the movie in 2014. Rome was a great base to explore Pompeii since it is only an hour train ride away to Naples, the nearest city to the ruins. I am going to do the sharing of this post in chronological order. Wanting to maximise the amount of time that I have on the ground, I took one of the earliest train out of Rome Termini Station! I am also pretty excited since I am going to try the Italy Trenitalia Frecciarossa which can goes up to 360km/hr!
Thankfully it is only a short walk from my place to the Termini, I am totally regretting getting the 7am train out to Naples. I grab a croissant and of course a cappuccino for the daily caffeine dose. The coffee bar seems to be the most happening thing at the station in the early morning. In fact, the sun haven even risen and yet you can see people bustling around with their life in the station. There was a little combo that they had where with a pastry, you can get a juice or water with it for only 50 cents. This bottle of water turns out to be a life saver in Pompeii later on. I really love the coffee bar scene in Italy!
Frecciarossa trains are the cream of the crop in Italy train industry! They connect major cities of Italy, in fact they are so important to the country. A trip from Rome to Naples only takes an hour. Cutting way down the 2 and a half hour that is needed to drive. I felt that it was better than their German counterparts although the amenities usually ranges around the same. Seat reservation is mandatory, there are free wifi……For an early morning departure, the train stayed mostly empty. Sometimes that I really prefer the Frecciarossa trains are the seats. I love the color palate which are decked out in grey and orange. Then they are also leather seats, even in Second Class. This is so much better than those fabric seats since there are much more cleaner. They are more private and spacious as well. The harder leather seats are definitely better than the dirty fabrics!
I took a little peak at Naples before making my way to the Circumvesuviana train platform. For those who are unsure, Naples and Napoli means the same thing. Napoli Centrale is also the main train station and also the one that you should head to. To get to Pompeii and other places in Southern Italy you have to take the Circumvesuviana trains. Circumvesuviana is something like the MRT that we have in Singapore or the S Bahn that you can find in Germany or Austria. Circumvesuviana trains link up the places in the region. It is quite hard to find the Circumvesuviana platform in Napoli Centrale, just keep in mind to head down a level then walk on the linkway. Try to find the logo of the Circumvesuviana that looks like a circle with two tracks linked into it.
Just let me share with you that the Circumvesuviana Trains are outdated, old and packed. They are a important transportation method for the people of the region, although they are not part of the National Rail company. There is also very limited information that you can find about it. I hope this post would be useful as it is more of a try and see how idea for me. And here comes the most important tip. THE CIRCUMVESUVIANA IS A HOTBED FOR PICKPOCKETS! IT IS REALLY VERY COMMON AND TO MAKE IT WORST, THE TRAINS ARE OFTENLY CROWDED WHICH GIVES THOSE ASSHOLES MORE OPPORTUNITY TO STEAL YOUR STUFFS! The reason why the Circumvesuviana trains are so crowded because it is the easiest way to get to Southern Italy.
The Circumvesuviana station in Napoli Centrale is known as Napoli Garibaldi so keep in mind of that. Do note that it is also not the final stop of the line! It is way way crowded at the station. It is also not well maintained. There are 3 platform here and you have to pay attention to which one your trains arrived on. It was definitely a squeeze to get in so forget about the seats. Sometimes the trains change platform last min as well. For the foreigner like me, I will advise you to ask a local before boarding to be sure. Most of the travellers head to Pompeii, Mt Vesuvius, Herculaneum or even to Sorrento! Here is a little map of the Circumvesuviana, to get to most places above you have to take the Blue Line. For Pompeii, stop at Pompei Scavi Villa Misteri Station, it should take you around 40mins.
You can buy the ticket by queueing up at the counter. It is extremely crowded. in fact I wasted around 15 mins to buy the ticket and then missing the train, and, the next only comes in another 30 mins. Trains are not that frequent. Tickets cost 2.80 Euros per way, and I will advise you to get round trip tickets to prevent queuing up again!
This is how crowded the train is! I was really careful about my stuff and stay in a corner. Something that I always do is to stick my hands in both of my pocket holding to my valuables! In fact I saw some Singaporeans or Malaysians in the train and they were heading to Herculaneum, there were talking about how just now they say the pickpockets targeting them and they push her away! It is really scary!
Scavi di Pompei or Ruins of Pompeii is just located right outside the train station. I am sure you won’t be lost since this is where everyone is headed to! I will advise you to come here early since it gets crowded. This is especially important if you are coming in summer. It is the peak season. In fact I will not even recommended coming in Summer since it is so hot. You will get tired easily from all the uneven steps and the heat! Even I perspire when I was here in early Nov. Tickets cost 13 euros and can be bought right inside the counter after the entrance. Avoid all those people right outside the station promoting their tickets and the tours. I got mine in less than 5mins.
The ruins are huge, in fact I believe that you won’t even be able to walk the whole place in a day. I did not do any research beforehand so only walk anywhere and see. There is a couple place that you definitely have to see such as the main square, the amphitheatre, the forum, the basilica!
Pompeii is an Unesco World Heritage Site and the most important fact is that the town remains the same as it is since it was engulfed by the ashes in AD79. It is interesting to see how things are like almost 1900 years ago. While it is believe that there is much more that have not been recovered. Current recovery are still in progress at the sites. Some of the more precious items and pieces are barricaded up.
Something that I find really interesting was seeing how the houses look like in their era. Seeing how the toilets, the kitchen and stoves look like!
Pompeii was really pretty tough to do since the roads were really uneven there. The steps were huge and tall and it is so important to wear a pair of comfortable shows. It is tiring!
One of my favourite place is definitely the amphitheatre. It is a perfect place to take many pictures. Sadly the weather wasn’t that good that day. It even had a slight drizzle. Pompeii is a place without any shelter, which is why you are prone to the weather. There is no shade, neither there is shelter. Go prepared. bring a poncho or at least a water of water!
Check out the rest of my pictures in Pompeii!
It felt really amazing to step foot in a place with such significance and history! i was done roughly around early afternoon and headed back to Naples after a quick stroll around the stalls outside. The bright orange juice outside the ruins are famous although pricey! You can try them! I plan to check out a little on Naples before heading back to Rome in the Evening. On the back, I will be taking the Italo train, which is a private company and in competition to Trenitalia. So stay tuned for that report!