Pompeii is a place that makes you realize how powerful time is.
It was an incredibly hot winter day, the sun was shining bright and the sky was azure. I was standing in the middle of Pompeii when it occurred to me that this is one of the most “alive” places I have ever seen. Nature was full of life: huge glorious trees with deep routes, fresh soft grass, blooming cherry blossom. Nothing reminded of an eruption and death of thousands of people, even opposite. Not even for a moment I felt that one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world is in a close.
Volcanic ash was blown away by winds, abandoned destroyed ancient city became a popular destination for people from all over the world. It is said that 2.5 million come each year, which is almost a population of my country.
Pompeii can be easily reached by a train from Naples to Sorrento. Since the train circles near Vesuvius, it has the name Circumvesuviana. It differs from the majority of intercity trains in Italy, actually it felt more like a metro – a bit dirty, crowded and cheap. In an instant I found a companion for that short travel. It was an old lady that had no doubts I am not local and started speaking Ukrainian with me. I was curious to listen to her story and found out some interesting facts about Naples. Soon I ended up in Pompeii train station, and in 5 more minutes of walking I reached the ticket office.
When buying a ticket, ask for the map – it is free, or come with your own guidebook. From a first look Pompeii seems to be small, but trust me it’s very possible to be in the middle of Pompeii — and literally have no idea where you are and what you see. So if you have a chance, go for a full day to Pompeii, then you won’t be in a hurry exploring it and will have time to make short breaks to relax or have a snack. Don’t forget to wear comfortable walking shoes and bring a bottle of water for refreshment.
If you want to have more detailed information about the sights you see, there is an opportunity to hire a guide or at least to buy an audio guide.
Some people could be surprised by the fact that buildings in Pompeii are empty. They are the remains of an old city: walls, temples, fountains and baths. The rest of the objects that survived eruption, such as interiors and art works, could be found in National Archaeological Museum of Naples.
Anyway, Pompeii made a good impression on me with its narrow streets, temples, remains, all decorated with frescoes, together with a beautiful nature of surroundings. As I came in winter the sight was not overcrowded. But if you come in high season and want to escape long queues, there is one more interesting option in Pompeii neighborhood – Roman town Herculaneum (station Ercolana), which is more compact and less overcrowded. The ruins there are incredibly well preserved. So make you choice and enjoy your time in one of these!