Next day we had arranged with Sorrento First Choice Car Transfer, the same company that we used for Amalfi Coast, to take us to Pompeii and drop us off at Naples train station for the journey to Rome. By 8.30 am we were checked out of the hotel at Sorrento and heading to Naples.
Being the first Sunday of the month, State Museums like Pompeii were free to enter with no tickets but that also meant the crowds would be huge and as expected there were thousands of people seeing the place that day. Since our train to Rome was at 1 pm from Naples (Napoli) train station we hurried in. Pompeii was huge and overwhelming and we got lost among its many roads and ruins. The fact that we did not have a good map of the place did not help. This is a place that I probably should have arranged for a guided tour or have stood in line at the info booth to get the map at least. I had the Rick Steves audio guide downloaded on my phone and his map, but without the official map and its numbering system, we were quite lost. We had to be out of Pompeii by 11.30 am, so we were literally running to see what we could in 2 hours – no easy feat since the ruins are spread over some 44 hectares. We entered from the main Porta Marina entrance and told the driver to pick us up at the Villa dei Misteri exit. Fortunately my husband’s sense of direction is much better than mine so we were able to see some of the highlights and we intentionally skipped some places since we had our daughters along with us. (It was quite the pagan society).
The city of Pompeii was a bustling ancient Roman town-city buried under ash in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. It was eerie that a civilization not too much later than Jesus time, had a city which was so well planned. Rich people’s frescoed villas and ordinary dwellings coexisted next to each other. The cobblestone pavements were not easy to walk on – saw some struggling with strollers and the huge crowds and heat as the day went by meant that we were getting tired. Glad we came in early June when the heat is still bearable – can’t imagine how bad this would be in July or August. We were able to see the little theater, the amphitheater, the temple of isis, the main forum, bath house and some others. We somehow found our way to the Villa dei Misteri and this is actually the best preserved of the Pompeii homes and was worth seeing. Necessary things if you plan to spend more time in Pompeii are water, hats and a small roll of toilet tissue.
The driver came on time and we headed straight to Napoli. Naples is where pizza was invented so at the train station we had just enough time to buy a slice of pizza for lunch from the cafeteria. Italian pizza is simple and plain and does not have the plethora of toppings we have here in the US.
We kept a close eye on our boxes and possessions and found the platform or bin number as it is called in Italy from the large black boards. The Italian high speed Freccia trains were excellent and I had made all my train reservations early from the US straight from the Trenitalia website. If you book very early you can get the super economy rates. Napoli (Naples) to Roma (Rome) we travelled on the Frecciarossa. I had forgotten to print out the pdf with the PNR code leading to more stress, but searching through email, I found what we needed. The trains have wifi access and were very comfortable in second class. It was a quick 1 hour 10 minute journey to Rome Termini station.