Suggestions about Visiting Pompeii from Rome
For Those Planning a Real Tour

I. One Day
II. More Than One Day
III. Less Than One Day

We have no experience with any of the tour companies that provide day trips to Pompeii and Vesuvius from Rome. If you've had a good experience with one (in English), please email me about it. When In Rome Tours has excellent online reviews of day trips from Rome to Pompeii.

  1. If you find that you have a full day in Rome with nothing to do (which we cannot imagine) and you are sufficiently adventurous and can travel without a guide, you and your traveling companion(s) can get from Rome to Pompeii using public transportation.

    Renting a car is only for those who are extremely courageous. A major problem with driving in Italy is that it is so easy to get lost on the highways, which certainly wastes lots of time, but it can be quite an adventure to tell. You'll need currency for toll roads between Rome and Pompeii.

    To Napoli ...
          I suggest that you take the early morning rapido train from Rome (Roma) to Naples (Napoli). You'll need to check the schedule and purchase your ticket(s) in advance of departure. (If you are not traveling from Rome, there is an international airport in Naples as an alternative.) The train ride should take about 3 hours from the central train station in Rome to the central train station at Piazza Garibaldi in Naples.

          If you arrive early enough in Naples, don't miss the National [Archeological] Museum, where so many artifacts from Pompei and Ercolano are housed. (The museum is always closed on Tuesdays.) Reach the museum by taking the Metropolitana subway from Piazza Garibaldi to Piazza Cavour. You will want to explore the museum for an hour or two in the morning. Be careful that you don't spend too much time here or there may not be enough time for Pompei.

    If you desire to climb Vesuvius, you should travel immediately to Pompei in the morning, skipping the museum. You can then climb Vesuvius in the afternoon by catching the bus, Compagnia Trasporti Vesuviani, just outside the train station at Ercolano. It is not possible to tour the Museo Nazionale, Pompei Scavi, and the top of Vesuvio all in one day.

    Get an authentic pizza to eat for a quick lunch in Naples, the place where pizza was invented.

    On to Pompei ...
          Purchase your ticket(s) for the
    Circumvesuviana train at the central train station at Piazza Garibaldi, then walk downstairs to the tracks. The Circumvesuviana line is operated like a subway, departing about every 30 minutes. It starts out underground but quickly emerges above ground and remains so all the way to Sorrento (the end of the line). Except when the weather is really bad, there are incredible views of Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples from the train.

    Ancient Pompei is closed 1 January, 1 May, and 25 December. All other days the site opens at 8:30 a.m. Between April and October, the site closes at 7:30 p.m. Closing is at 5 p.m. between November and March. Admission is allowed up to 1½ hours before closing. Last known ticket price: 11.00

          Depending on the time of day, the train ride from Naples to Pompei should take 25 to 40 minutes. Get off the train at Pompei Scavi, also known as the "Villa dei Misteri" station. Before entering the ruins, purchase a small guidebook and map from a sidewalk vendor, who will expect you to haggle over the price. Or rent an Audioguide handset, which comes with a nice map.

          Most tourists enter and exit ancient Pompei through the city gate called Porta Marina, a brief walk from the train station. After purchasing your ticket(s) to see the ancient city, you should notice a baggage claim area where you can leave things that you don't wish to carry around. Don't forget your camera and comfortable walking shoes. You will probably spend 2 to 4 hours exploring the ruins.

          Then return to Naples in time to catch your train back to Rome.

  2. If you do not have to return so quickly to Rome, we recommend you catch the Circumvesuviana train onward from Pompei Scavi to Sorrento. Sorrento is a great place to spend the night and will be a wonderful place to shop for a few hours the next morning. Be sure to visit Notturno Intarsio Inlaid Wood Works Factory and ask for our favorite salesman, Michele Pellecchia.

          If you're interested in visiting ancient Herculaneum (Ercolano), take the Circumvesuviana train back toward Napoli and get off 15 to 20 minutes past Pompei. The old Roman city is several blocks downhill from the train station. Since there are only about 6 (magnificent) blocks to explore inside the excavation site, the dug out portion of the ancient city can be seen by most tourists in less than an hour or two.

          If you'd rather see the island of Capri instead of more dusty ruins, you can catch a ferry from Sorrento. Then return by a different ferry from Capri to Naples, where you can spend the night or return to Rome. (Or stay on Capri overnight, but it's a little expensive there.)

          If you have a few days before you must return to Rome, there are many other things to explore in and around Naples.

  3. If you are going to be in Rome and want to visit Pompeii, but just do not have enough time, you might consider visiting Ostia Antica, only 20 miles away. It was the port city for ancient Rome. Ostia is a lot like Pompeii, except that it is a ghost town. People deserted Ostia in the 500's because of wars and malaria. Though not frozen in time like Pompeii, my wife and I found Ostia Antica very interesting when we visited there in 1985. If this is your only opportunity to visit an ancient Roman city, you will find it to be a wonderful place.

          Ostia is close to the Rome airport. You can take a public bus from the airport or the Metro B train from Rome to Porta s. Paolo, then catch the Ostia train (departs every 15 minutes) to Ostia Antica. With a guidebook, just wander around the old city for as long as you like before heading back to Rome.

We were last in southern Italy in 2007. You would probably enjoy (and maybe even benefit from) reading the reports of our
1999 and 2007 trips.

You'll have fun in Italy if you are patient and flexible. In southern Italy things don't happen as quickly as we're accustomed in the States. Plan for contingencies in advance. What if the train is late? What will you do if there is a labor strike? What if there is a heavy rain? Watch out for pickpockets.

We would return to Italy next month if we could find time. The shopping, food, culture, archeology, history, and people are just wonderful.

Whatever you decide to do in Italy, it will undoubtedly be a great adventure. Have a wonderful trip!

Buon viaggio!

Italy map

Your experiences can help us to better advise other folks who inquire about getting to Pompeii from Rome. Please email me at and share your story about visiting Pompeii.

Italy flag
Copyright © 17 January 2004, Michael & Jeannie Cole

link to online tour of Pompei
Discover lessons about Christianity from ancient Pompeii.