Rome to Pompeii in a Day
The ancient town of Pompeii is 150 miles from Rome in the Italian region of Campania. You can visit Pompeii in a day from Rome, although to truly experience Campania a longer trip is recommended.
You can either take the high-speed train from Rome, or alternatively there are a number of tours that visit Pompeii and a combination of other places.
We would suggest you don’t miss the Naples Archaeological Museum. When you visit the site of Pompeii you will walk along streets uninhabited for two thousand years, but in the museum you will find all of the artefacts found in those houses like glassware, a set of cooking utensils, a doctors medical kit, a ladies make-up box not to mention the frescoes taken from the walls and mosaics from the floors.
If you intend to travel from Rome to Pompeii by train, your first destination is Naples or Napoli in Italian. Naples is the capital of Campania; in the past it has received bad press but it is a wonderfully vibrant city with the best pizza in Italy. It is also much older even the city of Rome!
Why should we go to Pompeii?
Among Roman archaeological sites, Pompeii is unique as it is the most compete example we have of a Roman town. Although a third of the town has yet to be excavated, visitors can wander through the streets and remains of the buildings in a typical Roman town. We can admire the theatre used for dramatic productions, the Odeon – the opera house, baths, shops, taverns and eateries of ancient times. The amphitheatre in Pompeii is the oldest surviving example built to host gladiator combat; it predates Rome’s Colosseum by more than a hundred years. The remains of the grand houses of the rich still have colourful frescoes on the walls. The most complete example and most visited of all of the attractions at Pompeii is the Villa dei Misteri or Villa of the Mysteries named after the frescoes in the dining room or triclinium; where the owner of the house would entertain his guests.
What happened in Pompeii?
Pompeii was destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in the autumn of 79AD. Covered by over 9 feet of ash and volcanic debris, the town was hidden and forgotten for over 1600 years. Thanks to the eruption of Vesuvius we have a time-capsule of an ancient Roman city. Life in this affluent coastal town was literally snuffed out in only three days!
Excavations began at Pompeii in 1748, over the next two hundred years the modern town of Pompei (only one i) developed to house and service the many people working on the excavations and their families. The work to uncover Pompeii and sister site Herculaneum represent the beginning of the science called archaeology today i.e. the systematic scientific exploration of a site.
An extraordinary feature of Pompeii (an attraction for tourists with morbid curiosity) is what many call ‘the bodies’ of those who died in the tragedy. In 1863 when archaeologist Giuseppe Fiorelli and his team were digging, they found spaces in the debris left by organic matter. They had the ingenious idea to use plaster to try to recreate what was in the void, today we can see plaster casts of wooden doors, furniture and bodies that burnt in the heat of the blast. Over 1,150 men, women, children have been uncovered alongside a boar and a dog who was left chained up.
Rome to Pompeii by train
The easiest route would be from Termini the main station in Rome and your destination station is Napoli Centrali. There are two train companies that service Naples: Italo and Trenitalia. As always you should book your train journey in advance to get the best prices.
Italo has a fast train that gets to Naples in 1hr 10 minutes with prices starting from around €19.90 https://www.italotreno.it/en
Trenitalia is the state-run train service and can be more expensive, but they have three levels of service including the regional train which takes longer but is much cheaper. https://www.trenitalia.com/en.html
When looking for train times, ensure you choose ‘All trains’ which will give the following options:
- Regionale – takes between 2h 40min to 3hr 20 min with prices starting from €12.00
- Intercity – takes around 2 hours with prices starting from around €20.00
- Frecciarossa – is the high-speed option taking just over an hour starting from €25.00
Personally, I prefer ITALO as it is a fairly new service and the trains are more modern. They issue smart-tickets on an app and every seat has a phone charger.
Naples to Pompeii by train
Pompeii is just over 40 minutes from Naples on the Circumvesuviana or ‘the tourist train’ as the locals call it. The name literally means ‘around Vesuvius’ and you will pass the volcano on the train.
Look out for the red sign: The Circumvesuviana is located below the Naples Central station, the easiest way to reach it is to exit the station, cross the road and take the steps / escalator down to a shopping precinct below. There is a ticket booth in front of the entrance to the station with English-speaking staff who can advise you and point you in the right direction.
The trip from Naples to Pompeii or from Sorrento to Pompeii takes about 30 minutes. Tickets cannot be purchased online, but are available directly at the station. To be sure you have the right train just ensure you choose a train to Pompeii Scavi (Pompeii excavations). You can check the timetable here.
How to buy tickets for Pompeii
Tickets can be bought on the day, although in the height of season you should expect long queues. There are three entrances to the archaeological site — each one has a ticket office
1 – Porta Marina Superiore entrance is directly opposite the Pompei Scavi station where you get off the Circumvesuviana line.
2 – Porta Marina Inferiore (Piazza Esedra) entrance, is the main entrance and is only 5 mins walk from the station.
3 – Piazza Anfiteatro entrance is 15 minutes’ walk from the circumvesuviana but is worth the walk to see the numerous casts outside the entrance.
Tickets cost €16.00 for adults and free for children under 16. Further reductions are available for students and others with relevant documentation. Check the following website for further information and downloadable maps:
Alternatively, you can buy tickets online in advance from the following official site:
https://www.ticketone.it/ These skip-the-line tickets can only be used at the Porta Marina entrances.
Beware of any other sites selling tickets as they are not official and therefore the prices and validity may vary!
Alone or with a guide
The site is enormous and you could spend an entire day exploring the site. Alternatively, you could leave it to the experts who can show you the highlights of the site in a few hours with in-depth explanations of the buildings and daily life in Pompeii. Most tours take around 2-3 hours depending whether they visit the amphitheatre or not. (The amphitheatre is at the other end of the site) but should not be missed if you have visited the colosseum in Rome. Make sure you choose a reputable company rather than turning up on the day hoping to find a quality tour.
Things to remember when visiting Pompeii
Lots of walking – Because the site is so large, you will need comfortable shoes – these may seem obvious but there really is a lot of walking and the ancient pavements are high. Unfortunately, because it is still an active archaeological site it is not adapted for anyone with difficult walking or disabilities. Taking a wheelchair to the site is not recommended as many parts are impassable.
Heat – There is no shade in Pompeii. In the summer months it is boiling hot with little respite and many tourists underestimate the weather. Make sure you have hats, parasols and sun cream to cope with the heat.
Water – There are fountains on the site and a shop for refreshments but we suggest you take plenty of water with you and perhaps a snack or even a packed lunch if you intend to spend more than a few hours there.
Bags – Due to new security rules, you are not allowed to take large bags, backpacks / rucksacks into the site. Anything over 30 x 30 x 15 cm will have to be put into the cloakroom or luggage deposit at the Porta Marina entrances.
If you are traveling with luggage, there is a luggage storage facility (deposito bagagli) in the lower level of the Pompeii Scavi station.
So, there you have it. Now, you know do a day trip to Pompeii from Rome! If you haven’t booked your trip yet then we generally recommend that you aim to spend a little more time here to truly soak up all the flavour, soul, and history of Rome. We love to help you make informed descions so get in touch with us with any questions related to your trip.