Looking to visit Pompeii from Rome?
Pompeii has to be one of the most famous ancient Roman archeological sites – its incredible legacy in understanding the lives of ancient Romans is unrivalled, and the story of its destruction rings throughout history.
Find out the best ways to visit this world-renowned Unesco World Heritage Site. On this page we'll cover:
There are two answers to this question.
The first is that it refers to the modern town, located 23km from the center of Naples.
The modern town of Pompei is adjacent to the original settlement of Pompeii - an ancient Roman city frozen in time by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE, and it is how you can visit Pompeii from Rome that is the focus of this page.
Pompeii is a must-visit for anyone interested in ancient Roman history or the history of Rome!
Few other sites have contributed so much to the understanding of the daily lives of the ancient Romans.
Pompeii was buried during the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE and as such became a huge time capsule, capturing a moment nearly 2000 years ago and preserving it forever.
Following its discovery in the late 16th century, Pompeii has slowly given up its secrets as archeologists have unearthed huge sections of the ancient city under layers of volcanic ash.
Archaeological evidence suggests that people first settled in the area of Pompeii in the eighth century BCE.
Within a couple of hundred years the town began to take shape, with temples and other important buildings (some of which are still visible today) were constructed.
In the following centuries, Pompeii's fortunes fluctuated, until it came under direct rule from Rome.
Pompeii formally became a colony of Rome in 80 BCE where over the following decades substantial building projects were undertaken the city expanded greatly.
In 62 CE a strong earthquake destroyed large parts of the city - these were quickly rebuilt and more construction ordered, making Pompeii one of the area's major cities.
Only 17 years later, in August 79 CE, Mount Vesuvius erupted in what is one of the most infamous volcanic eruptions in history.
Over the course of the next few days, ash and pumice rained down on Pompeii and the surrounding area, completely burying the town.
Over the ensuing centuries people continued to live in the area of Pompeii but the town did not return to its pre-eruption eminence.
The modern town of Pompei is now home to around 25,000 people and is a key part of the extra-urban area outside of Naples with connections available to other notable areas such as the Sorrentine Peninsula and Amalfi Coast.
Pompeii is located 210km/130 miles south of Rome, in the region of Campania.
Traveling from Rome to Pompeii is very straightforward – I can recommend three options:
Your departure point should be Rome’s Termini (Roma Termini) station.
From here you need to book a ticket to Naples central station (Napoli Centrale) on one of the high speed trains.
To maximize your time at Pompeii, consider departing Roma Termini station around 8am.
These high speed trains run multiple times per hour, and ticket prices average 25-30€ per person for a standard single direction ticket
Book online via Trainline to see all routes, prices and keep track of your tickets while on the move.
Consider paying a little more (typically 10€-15€ per journey) to upgrade to a Prima coach - this is for first class passengers and guarantees access to power outlets plus other extras such as a free drink (typically a choice of water, juice or coffee - no alcohol, sorry!).
Once you arrive at Naples Centrale (journey time typically between 1 hour and 1 hour 15 minutes), follow the signs for the ‘Circumvesuviana’ train line (sometimes labelled as 'Linee Vesuviane').
This is the line that circumvents Vesuvius, going to multiple destinations – hence the name!
Request a ticket from the counter for Pompeii Scavi and follow the directions to the train platform.
These ticket prices are fixed and it's not possible to book online.
I would recommend using a card when purchasing to reduce the cash you are carrying while on the move.
The trains run multiple times per hour and the journey from Naples takes just over a half hour.
Sadly this is not a high speed train - take the time to prep for your visit to Pompeii's ancient ruins.
Once you arrive at Pompeii Scavi train station, simply follow the signs for the archeological park - the Porta Marina main entrance is less than two minutes walk.
Note for some guided tours/tour guides the meeting point is often the Pompeii Scavi station.
Click here to view all parking options near Pompeii - they are all pretty similar in terms of value and service.
Select your preference using Google Maps and set off – a direct drive from Rome will take between 3 and 4 hours, depending on where you start from and allowing for rest stops.
Opting to book a guided tour or hiring a private transfer is probably the easiest option to get to Pompeii from Rome.
Guides/drivers can often offer the option of a hotel pickup and then take you directly to the Pompeii site, in an air conditioned coach with a bus driver and passionate guides.
While efforts have been made to make Pompeii more accessible, visitors with mobility challenges may face difficulties both arriving at Pompeii from Rome, and then getting around the site.
Access to the train platforms for the Circumvesuviana Line at Napoli Centrale is only via stairs or escalators.
There are no lifts or other mobility assistance to get down to the platforms. Consider arranging a private transfer or taxi from the high speed train station to Pompeii, or even for the whole journey from Rome to Pompeii.
Access via the main Porta Marina entrance is not viable for anyone with mobility challenges due to uneven surfaces, steps and steep ramps.
The park does have an itinerary for people with motor disabilities, called 'Pompeii for All'. The accessible entrance is at Piazza Anfiteatro, and the route runs for 3.5km/2.2 miles.
For more details refer here to the official Pompeii website.
On the first Sunday of every month entrance to Pompeii is free to anyone and everyone - part of the same scheme that grants access to a lot of free sites in Rome.
Book ahead if you plan to visit Pompeii on a free Sunday and arrive as early as possible.
It will be extremely busy.
In the event more than 15,000 people are in the park by midday, the entrances will be closed for an hour to allow existing visitors to leave.
You cannot book skip the line tickets for the Free Sundays.
Opening hours vary according to the time of year, before making the day trip from Rome to Pompeii, be sure to check the official website.
You should (no promises!) find the weather dry and warm, but not too hot!
While clear and dry most of the time, powerful storms can form making conditions for walking around an archeological park less than desirable!
If you can only visit at this point, be sure to wear a waterproof jacket and bring a decent umbrella, just in case!
During the peak season summer months, the exposed nature of the site combined with Pompeii’s proximity to a major city (Naples), means temperatures can often be close to 100F, if not higher.
If visiting at this time of year, be sure to bring a hat, plenty of water and sunblock.
For self-guided visits, the base entrance fee to Pompeii in 2022 is 16€ - from 2023 this will be 18€.
Note that the standard tickets are not skip the line tickets, and it is not possible to book these directly.
To book skip the line Pompeii tickets you'll need to do this via a operator such as GetYourGuide.
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Locals often know things that non-locals don't, providing a richer experience and smaller groups enable you to ask questions and make the most of your visit.
Private tours often offer full transport/transfer options to make your day tour stress-free. Several operators also offer a Vesuvius tour to enhance your day trip.
Pompeii is vast; when Vesuvius erupted, it is estimated the ancient town had a population of 12,000 with the same amount of people also living on the outskirts - comparable to the population of modern Pompei.
Current estimates put the percentage of excavated ground at just over two-thirds, meaning that there is still a huge part to unearth.
You could easily take a full day to see the majority of the site.
If you are very interested in ancient Roman history, consider staying a night in the area so you can split your trip from Rome to Pompeii across two days!
If you are time-limited, here are a series of absolute-must sees, which if followed in order (on the basis you enter the park from the entrance near the Pompeii Scavi train station) will take you past a lot of other notable monuments as you explore the ancient cobbled streets.
On arrival, you'll enter the site via one of the city's original gates - this gate was the most impressive, and is called the 'Marine Gate' because it originally faced the sea and shoreline.
If you have free time, before heading through the gate, bear left and explore the bath complex here - it serves as a great introduction to the site!
After walking up the slope from the entrance, continue straight and you'll find yourself in the Forum of Pompeii.
Like the Roman Forum in Rome, this space was the focal point of life in the ancient city.
Business was conducted here, social gatherings took place, religious ceremonies undertaken and much more.
From the Forum you can visit several of Pompeii's most impressive monuments, including the Basilica, the Temple of Jupiter and the Temple of Apollo.
Before exploring the town of Pompeii, I'd recommend taking a slight detour to the scavi Villa dei Misteri (excavations of the Villa of the Mysteries) located approx. 15 minutes walk from the Forum.
Following the suggested route (signposted) you'll pass Pompeii's cafe which also features some bathrooms - use this opportunity to refresh yourself.
As you follow the ancient streets you'll pass countless ancient homes and businesses, before exiting the city limits where you'll then find the road lined with tombs. In ancient Rome it was customary to bury the dead outside of the city.
When you arrive at the scavi Villa dei Misteri, you'll find yourself transported back in time; this is one of the best preserved ancient Roman villas anywhere, let alone in Pompeii.
Marvel at the original decorative flooring and recently restored frescoes and immerse yourself in the peace and tranquility of the surroundings.
In ancient Rome times, this would have felt like a haven away from the hustle and bustle of Pompeii!
When you leave the scavi Villa dei Misteri, take the same road back to the main part of the old town before following the signs for 'Regio V' (Region 5) - this is one of the 'newer' sections of Pompeii, in that much of it has been excavated only relatively recently.
As such, not all areas are open all the time, but if you can, be sure to visit the:
After the Forum, this district would have been the most lively during ancient times.
It houses two theaters, the gladiator barracks and several other important structures including the incredibly well-preserved Temple of Isis.
If time allows, enter the main theater and take a seat on the stone benches.
Imagine watching a play here, and consider for a moment you are sitting in the exact same spot that the ancient citizens of Pompeii sat nearly 2000 years ago!
In this district, at the edges of the visitable park, you can visit the ancient city's amphitheater and the adjacent Palestra.
Gladiatorial games and other public events were held here on a regular basis, and the size of this district is a testament to Pompeii's prominence in the area.
From here you can choose to exit the park (if you're on a self-guided visit) via Piazza Immacolata and take the short walk back to the Pompeii Scavi train station.
If you have not left Pompeii after seeing the amphitheater, return to the Forum and follow the signs for the exit.
This will take you past the Temple of Venus and you'll see steps down to the Antiquarium (museum).
This is one of the newest additions to the park and houses artefacts found in Pompeii plus two small book/gift shops - visit if you have time as the collection has been curated thoughtfully and helps to round-off any visit.
Outside of Rome, the area surrounding Pompeii features one of the highest concentrations of ancient Roman sites anywhere.
If you find yourself with free time or are wanting to explore further on your day trip from Rome to Pompeii, ancient Roman history lovers should consider visiting:
Moving beyond ancient Rome, there is no shortage of other things to do and places to visit near Pompeii:
If you are looking to explore Campania beyond Pompeii, don't forget to consider getting yourself a Campania ArteCard – just like the Roma Pass in Rome, it enables access to two sites without extra cost, and discounts to dozens of sites after your two 'free' visits.
Inside Pompeii site you'll find a cafe/bistro (with air conditioning - a blessing if visiting in the summer!) but this can get very busy.
As such, I'd recommend bringing your own lunch/snacks and drinks for while you are in the archaeological park.
If you are taking the high speed train from Rome, you'll find plenty of great options in Naples Centrale station in the 'Foodcourt' which you can grab when changing lines.
Immediately outside the entrances to Pompeii are several bars - the food at these places is not the best (but will do if you're in a pinch) but they are useful for grabbing something to drink on your way in or out of the park.
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