1,700 Years Under 60ft of Ash and Pumice
This is a big place to see. People do take bus tours to visit it and stop for a few hours and are perfectly happy. I have been here twice, and have even spent the night in a hotel down the block, and I still do not feel like I had enough time to explore. I spend a little more time lost than I do finding my way around. We tend to circle back to the same location several times and continue to be unable to get to a landmark that has been the goal since early morning yet it is late afternoon. We shall return yet!
Along the sidewalks to the site are souvenirs and guidebooks whose prices increase (noting the guidebooks) as you approach the ticket booth. A guidebook is certainly useful, especially if you find one in a language that you speak. This is probably a good time to note that a tote bag or something to carry the guidebook, sun screen, water, sunglasses, rain poncho, and all the extra stuff that we tend to accumulate is certainly useful to have. We carry a lot of stuff and seem to collect more as the day goes on. It starts with photography equipment, then sunscreen, then later it is bottled water, then snacks, then a book, a mousepad I can't live without from the gift shop...I think we need an overnight backpack before we are done.
As we spend the whole day wandering and confused, we can't really say - oh you have to see this, or - this is the best path to follow, because at the end of the day we had to have help twice to find the exit, but it is possible that whatever you see here, it is likely to impress you at some level. We really enjoyed the frescoes that still existed. Frescoes are the paintings that are on the plaster on the wall. There is one in a garden with birds and trees in the fresco. That is probably my favorite part that we happened upon during this visit.
Both on our way in and on our way out we ended up at the same amphitheater. We still missed several on our list, so we do have to return, but at least when we found a familiar site at the end of the day, we knew the exit was close by and we would be spending the night outside of the site after all.
Where We Stayed
We stayed at the Hotel Palma which is very close to the train station, though we drove, and is in walking distance to Pompeii. Actually, if anyone has a car, we have no idea where you would even park if you drive to Pompeii. We may have been just as close parking at the hotel as someone who had to park at public parking would have been. If we were to spend the night again, we would definitely stay at the Hotel Palma. The people were nice, the room was very very clean, and it was very convenient and easy to find. Our room was modern, and we had a balcony on the street. I am not saying to expect fluent speaking English at this establishment, but communication was not a big challenge.
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Pompeii is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and we read that in 2007, when we visited, that there were 2,571,725 visitors. Two of them were us. The rest of those people were certainly there on the day we visited. It seemed that way. It is good that the site is large, as you can see below in the google map gadget we provided. The place is certainly more impressive, however, from the ground, and we do recommend, that if you are ever in Italy, that if the opportunity to visit arises, this is well worth the trip. It is an important and unique part of the history of Italy.
Pompeii on Google Maps
View Larger Map at Google Maps