There are so many places in Italy I want to visit. Rome was just the tip of the iceberg but Milan, Florence, Amalfi Coast, Venice etc. are all up there and waiting to be checked off. Fortunately on this trip we had a spare day and managed to squeeze in a cheeky trip to Pompeii (that was also on the list). Pompeii is an ancient Roman city based just outside of Naples. It was historically destroyed and buried under volcanic ash after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The eruption completely wiped out the town, its’ residents and has become an iconic location through that.
Visiting Pompeii from Rome is very easy but does take a while. We took the fast train to Napoli (around an hour) and from there you transfer to the metro and go directly to Pompeii (another hour). It’s about a five minute walk from the station to the gates so super easy peasy. Prepare yourself when you get inside and open the map – it’s bloody huge. Dedicate yourself a few hours here (maybe bring a packed lunch) and get exploring. The excavation work is still ongoing and the site is growing and growing. Some parts are more decrepit than others but some things they’ve uncovered are insane from houses with clear art-ways and also roads and sculptures. Although the findings are incredible and walking through the site you feel like a part of history, there is weirdly an ominous feeling around. For me the most anxious part was the Garden of the Fugitives. When clearing the ash they found spaces left by decomposed bodies and decided to inject plaster in them to recreate casts of the victims. These are on display in the ‘garden’ and it was stomach-churning. The audio guide really has no mercy here and describes the shock on their faces and how terrified they must’ve been. Other parts of the site are a little more cheery and inspiring from seeing how they lived, the different art in their homes on the walls and also experiencing the city life. There was a colosseum which is still standing, a variety of open squares and also a bathhouse. Mount Vesuvius has erupted since and is scarily still active today. If you have the time to visit I think it’s definitely worth a shout, just for the pure grandeur scale of the place and historical meaning.