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Review: Sorrento with HF Holidays

Specialist Holiday - Sightseeing

Sorrento, Italy

Excursion to Pompei

  • By SilverTraveller Hardyplant

    54 reviews

    Ribbon Ribbon Ribbon

  • September 2011
  • Husband
  • Culture / Sightseeing

176 people found this review helpful

During our HF Discovery Tour in Sorrento we had visits to Pompei and Herculaneum on two separate days, travelling on the Circumvesuviana railway on both occasions. I will not go into much detail about the archaeological sites, as there are many websites, blogs and reviews elsewhere, although I’ll share a few of my personal views/tips. (Although the rail journey to Herculaneum is included in this review I’ll write a short bit about the visit to the archaeological site when I review Day 7 of the holiday – Herculaneum and Monte Faito.)

Tips for getting to Pompei, Herculaneum (or Naples) from Sorrento area using the Circumvesuviana railway:

We were staying at The Hotel Caravel which is in the Sant’Agnello district of Sorrento. Sant’Agnello has its own railway station which is only a 12-minute walk from the Hotel Caravel so on the day of our visit to Pompei we all walked to that station to catch the train. However, the train was already full when it arrived from Sorrento and most of us had to stand in the very hot train all the way to Pompei. The Circumvesuviana is largely a service for commuters to Naples and although it is like the London Overground during the day there are only a couple of trains an hour, some stop at all the stations along the way so take twice as long as others, so it’s worth checking the timetables online. As a result of our experience getting to Pompei as a group we decided that for our trip to Herculaneum a few days later, instead of catching the train at Sant’Agnello, we would walk to Sorrento railway station, which is the terminus, in the hope of getting a seat at the beginning of the journey. It took us about 25 minutes to walk there, but it was worth it as we did manage to get seats for the longer journey to Herculaneum. Tickets can be bought in the station ticket office, but it is much better to buy them from the newsagents’ kiosk outside the station, where the information is displayed in English as well as Italian. I can’t remember the ticket prices, but they seemed very cheap compared with British train tickets.

Pompei

Arriving at Pompei (the station is called Pompei Scavi – Villa dei Misteri) the walk to the entrance gates of the archaeological park is a short distance down a road that takes you past a few touristy market stalls and I seem to remember that even after we’d entered the Archaeological Park it was still a bit of a walk to the ticket booths. I wasn’t prepared for the vast size of the site; it actually covers over 160 acres. We had a tour guide for the central area and most important remains, like the Forum, theatres and temples, but I think doing some research in advance and having a map would be just as good. We then had some time to explore on our own but most of us tagged along with the HF leader to the outskirts of the site, which was quite rural, to the Via dei Sepolcri; as the name suggests it’s where members of important Pompeian families were buried. On either side of the paved road are the remains of monumental tombs of various shapes, altars and temples, shaded by cypress and pine trees. It was very atmospheric and although this might seem mad, I loved it. We continued walking and eventually arrived at the Villa dei Misteri which is a well-preserved villa with exquisite painted walls and many interesting features; I also liked this villa and can recommend it as being well worth the walk to see it. There were far fewer visitors to these outer reaches of the Pompei archaeological park. We exited at the gate next to Villa dei Misteri and found ourselves very close to the railway station, where we soon boarded our train back to Sant’Agnello.

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This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.

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