Italy – Pompeii


Pompeii with Vesuvius in the background

A little late but wrapping up the Italy blog series with a final post on Pompeii.

During our vacation to Sorrento, we made an excursion to the ancient ruins of Pompeii (Unesco World Heritage site) , the site of the ruined city, previously buried in 6m of volcanic ashes back in 79AD.  The story of the eruptions and burial in itself is fascinating.   Just recent years did they uncover the city and have spent decades slowly uncovering it.  Still, there is a large portion of it under cover and will take decades longer to dig out.   Even as you take a tour, you can see workers uncovering more of this ancient ruin.

The pre-eruption history of the site is fascinating and there is so much to see and learn here, that the one day we dedicated to it, really doesn’t do it justice.  If you are into ancient history, I suggest a 2 day visit would be recommended.    Pompeii is the most visited of local sights by tourists.  However, locally, there is also Herculaneum, another Roman ruin that I believe is worth a visit.  We didn’t have time to dedicate to a second visit but this is supposedly a better experience than Pompeii.

We made the same journey to Pompeii as we did to Vesuvius (blog post here) .  An easy train ride to Scavi Pompeii direct from Sorrento.   Unlike our trip to Vesuvius, this time, we opted to jump into the tourist office next door to the station to purchase the 2 hour guided tour of Pompeii.  Knowing how vast the site is, we felt this would be a good idea, especially with kids in tow…we needed the big beats to keep the kids engaged.  The tour wasn’t expensive and woudl likely recommend it.  I believe there is an audio tour you can pick up in Pompeii but the place is HUGE so I wonder if going it alone may feel a little overwhelming?

Our tour guide was good enough though.  However, being Italian, his accent was so thick, the kids could barely understand a word.  After each segment, i then needed to ‘translate’ again for the kids.  This turned out to not be too bad as 1/2 of the tour focused on Roman brothels and prostitution ….visiting all along the way and pointing out questionable paintings and images.   ‘Translating’ this for 10 year olds became amusing for the whole tour 🙂

Also visited were amphitheaters, villas, streets, stores filled with artifacts and also a special exhibition of the ‘bodies’ found over the years of excavations.  All fascinating stuff and we definitely learned a lot.  My youngest kids are 10 years old and I would probably say its a good experience for kids age 8+.

When the tour ended, we had noted places to go back and visit which we did…although, I think we probably only covered about 20% of Pompeii in total.  Again, it is a massive – approx 170 acres.

As I noted for when we visited Vesuvius, I am glad we visited ‘off season’.   The weather was sunny and mild – approx 70-74 degrees.  Not scorching but as Pompeii offers no shade at all, we were baking on site.  Peak season here would be difficult to tour in the heat of the day and I would recommend visiting at another time.





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