Exploring Pompeii, Italy – tips and advice for first-time visitors.

Region VI street with Mt Vesuvius in the background.

Pompeii was a definite highlight for me.  I decided to pay a small premium and buy my tickets online the day before. It still required lining up, but my wait was only for 10 minutes at around 9.20am compared to much longer lines for those who did not purchase in advance.

Advice visiting Pompeii in summertime

Some things I recommend that you do based on the trip to Pompeii mid August:

  • If you have the time, don’t do the set tours. These only cover a small portion and your entry fees are not covered.
  • It is worth the premium online to buy your tickets at another provider. You still need to wait in line to pick up the ticket but the line will be shorter.
  • Have comfortable shoes, comfortables clothes, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses. Sunglasses are a must since the sun reflect off the stones.
  • Go early, like from 9am. Far less crowds (especially the big tourist crowds). This means some good photo opportunities at places like the Basilica, the Forum, Tempio di Giove and more without much tourist interference like below.
  • Statue of a centaur at the Forum in Pompeii.
  • I lasted until 1.30pm, then took a 1.5 hour break before taking a 3pm bus to Mt Vesuvius. You can buy your bus tickets at the entrance to Pompeii near the train station and buy the entrance tickets from the private bus.
  • It may be worth bringing something light for lunch instead of waiting at the kiosk/restaurants. There was a restaurant up a hill but it was still closed during my visit. There are water fountains around the site to replenish your water bottle.
  • For cheaper food and less crowds, there is a restaurant that is to your left after leaving the trains, by the parking entrance and away from the groups of restaurant.

I walk through Via delle Tombe (through the Necropoli di Porta Ercolano) and Villa dei Misteri which had some very interesting internal works below like the Egyptian/hieroglyphics inspired motifs:

Heiroglyphic inspired motifs at the Villa dei Misteri, Pompeii.

The exit requires you to walk through a long ‘driveway’ all the way back to the train station.  Not a lot of people went through here though, and I suspect that much of the large groups had been either tourists, or people left via the main entrance/exit points.

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Pompeii Highlights – Buildings, Temples and Interiors.