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A busy vacation filled with culture food and above all archaeology
Day 1, arrive at the airport of Naples, take the bus to the trainstation (Piazza Garibaldi, about 25 minutes by bus) )and from there take the circumvesuviana train to Pompeii, the ideal base for our trip.
You can get of the train near the excavations (Scavi), when you walk down hill and go left to the big road you will also find a big supermarket (to get picnic articles for luncheon during your stay). When you go to your left at Scavi trainstation you will find a camping site.
Get the Campania arte card (365 days), it will save a lot of money and will give you some great ideas on what to visit
Brilliant discount system! Do buy the 365 day card if you stay for a week or longer, it's well wort it!
website to plan your trip by train
Day 2 7:45 u. First real day so lets make the most of it: Take your breakfast at bar Scambati, the small restaurant at the trainstation. People there are really friendly, within two days they become your new best friends. Breakfast prices tend to change with the mood of the cashier, but it is never more than 3 euro and the cappucino and cornetto (Italian croissant) are the best. (Cornetto con cream, chocolata, marmelata)
You can also have your luncheon here: pizza margharita is as fresh as it gets: tomatoes grown on the excavation site, fantastic mozzarella! Order a 'panino con filosh, prosciutto e pommodori', you get a brilliant omelette with mozzarella, ham and fresh tomatoes.
08:30 Take the entrance at Via Porta Marina (it's about a minute's walk from bar Scambati).
Via Porta Marina was also in earlier days the main entrance of this town. To the left was for pedestrians, right was for carts. Luxurious villae were built on the left of the gate in the first century BC.
Some special buildings like Terme Suburbana are only to be visited after reservations by internet. This is the website wher you can make these reservations
Or Capitolium, North end of the forum, first only dedicated to Jupiter, later also Juno and Minerva
A peripteros at the forum with 48 Ionic columns and a podium, a fusion between Greek and Roman architecture. One of the oldest snctuaries of this town, lots of remodellation, but the first fundaments are from the 6th century BC.
Google on 3D map of this temple!
Around the forum several finds are stored. The most important artery for traffic was the via abondanza, a road of about 900 m. from the forum to Porta di Sarno.
Remember: the lava-creatures you will see are not from Pompeii, the lava ran someplace else (Herculaneum) and Pompeii was covered in ashes, hot steam, toxic fumes and lapili (small tuff stones). Researchers did make plaster molds.
From the forum wander into the Via della scuole, where we can see a fantastic mosaic of a wild boar.
Walk way to the back of the city where you will find the old sportsfields (Palaestra), the big theater and to top it of the grand Amfitheater (look at the rim of the first row seats with inscriptions)
In the Casa del Fauno the famous Alexander Mosaic was found (which we will see in the museum tomorrow, no worries, that's just to protect the works). The house is a good example of rich houses being remodelled and made even bigger and better after the earthquake (62 AD). The peristilium is gigantic. The house is names after the statuette of a dancing faun, a copy is seen in the impluvium, the original is in the archaeological museum of Naples
Other must see houses are:
-Casa deii Ceii,
- Casa della Venere in Conchiglia (a beautiful little stuette was found here of 'Venus in bikini', which is now on display in the archaeological museum in Naples). Also fantastic fresco (which the house is named after) of a venus in a shell.
- House of Loreius Tibertinus (frescoes of Piramos and Thisbe and the fresco of Narcissus being selfinvolved).
- Thermopolium e casa di Vetutius Placidus, a Lararium (shrine for housegods) with snake-painting ( which refers to slave-gods)
- you cannot skip the lupanare
- necropoli up to the villa dei Misteri
Good discriptions by Karl Weber and Maiuri and Winckelmann
V. Spinazzola, Pompei alla luce degli scavi nuovi di Via dell'Abbondanza (Rome, 1953)
P. Zanker, Pompeii: Public and Private Life
A. Maiuri, Pompeian Wall Paintings (1960)
This is the place to leave pompei, save this house for last. You get to see a winepress (reconstruction) and the beautiful frescoes of the 'mysteries', the secret feast surrounding Bachus. The brightness is amazing!
After a perfect day it is now time for a perfect dinner! The host is lovely the wines are brilliant, have a lovely pasta meal, fantastic dessert and come back another time to sit in the garden and order pizza!
The owner is also a wine lover, so let him choose the wine (don't forget the dessert wine, not the vin santo but a fantastic muscat)
all the info you need on the trainstation Pompeii
Day 3, we are going to put everything we have seen so far and everything we are going to see in perspective. 07:50 breakfast at bar Scambati after which we can conveniently hop on the next train. It's a nice walk to the museum (bring a map) and accessable with the artecard. Highlights, not to be missed: The Alexander- Mosaic: a Roman replica of the image of Philoxenos (316 BC). This Mosaic is coming from the House of the Faun in Pompei, where the depiction of Alexander was used as a military rollmodel.
Frescoes: in the museum you will have a chance to compare the 4 styles used in murals in Pompei/ Herculaneum/ Oplontis etc.
Don't miss the 'Venus in Bikini' and the model of Pompeii and the Nile scene from the Casa del' Medico.
Also The Farnese Bull, Farnese Hercules and Farnese Atlas are not to be missed
- fresco of riots in the amfitheater.
Time for a bit of shopping and architecture-gazing
14:00 Something entirely different, 17th century palace once in use by the Bourbons and now the public can gaze at all this glory.
16:00 For a coffee break you of course have to visit the stylish Gambrinus (cheaper when you drink it like the locals: at the bar!)
Take the 'Pizza Trianon', I dare you... it's huge! And delicious! (near the theatre and you get to see the wood- oven in action!)
Day 4 Naples again. After breakfast take the train to Naples again and walk through the citycentre. Her you get to see archaeology inside and out, history of the city and a robust castle.
After the visit, get a nice panino or go to the nearby bakery to get some rolls and have a picnic in the small garden across the castle.
15:00 Among other things you get to see the fundaments of the old Roman theatre!
16:30 In the fry- shops in the city- centre of Naples (near the Sotteraneo entrance): try the fried zucchini flowers, they are amazing!
Nice place for dinner, primo, secondo and dessert
Day 5 about 10 stops back from Pompeii, so take the circumvesuviana after breakfast (andate e ritorno or giornaliero is returnticket and daycard)
when arrived: you walk down hill in south- west direction, the name of the street is Via Vittorio Vento, but it's the big street going straight from the trainstation, there's a roundabout wich you kinda cross, still going downhill in the same direction, over Via 4 Novembre. This road leads you right to the entrance.
(Google maps: enter 'Scavi Ercolano', zoom in on the scavi and then scroll to the right, you will see the trainstation)
The story about the boathouses is heartbreaking, after that the first thing you will see is the Palaestra. The Nymphaeum is marvellous, best frescoes at Tempio dei Augustali, don't miss the mosaic of Triton and Anfitrite
- house with the double atrium
- House of the black hall (!)
- Telephos fries
- House of the tailor
If you want to read up on the Roman Goldcoast, here are some suggestions:
- there was this great exposition on 'the last hours of Herculaneum' , there was a great catalogue with that exposition. (Mols and Moormann, but also Josef M�rock and Dieter Richter (red.), Versch�vom Vesuv. Die letzten Stunden von Herculaneum,)
- I don't know if you read french but:
'Quotidien des dieux et des hommes : la vie religieuse dans les cite?s du Ve?suve a? l'e?poque romaine' by William Van Andringa : E?cole franc?aise de Rome, 2009
- ' Antiquity recovered : the legacy of Pompeii and Herculaneum '
ed. by Victoria C. Gardner Coates and Jon L. Seydl
Impressum Los Angeles : J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007, cop. 2007
- I doubt you read any Dutch, but actually any book by Stephan Mols is great. He has done a lot of studies in Herculaneum and once gave me a day-long tour along the site of Herculaneum: impressive!
- 'Pompei, Oplontis, Ercolano, Stabiae '
Fabrizio Pesando, Maria Paola Guidobaldi
Impressum Roma [etc.] : Laterza, 2006
This book gives you a greater idea of the 'gold coast' around naples.
How's your German?
- Pompeji und Herculaneum : Ein Reisebegleiter / Hrsg. Dieter Richter
Auteur Richter, Dieter
Impressum Frankfurt am Main : Insel Verlag, 2005, 05.04.20
- ' Houses in Herculaneum : a new view on the town planning and the building of insulae III and IV '
Richard E.L.B. de Kind ; [transl. from the Dutch by Brigitte Planken ... et al.]
Impressum Amsterdam : Gieben, 1998
This one is actually from a series called ' Circumvesuviana', which coveres all the small towns of the gold coast
A bit more 'for the public' is:
- 'Houses and Society in Pompeii and Herculaneum'
|Andrew Wallace-Hadrill (1996)
-'The Herculaneum Women and the Origins of Archaeology ''
Jens Daehner, Kordelia Knoll & Christiane Vorster (2008)
about the first discoveries
14:00 go back to the trainstation where you can get the mini- bus of Cooperativa Vesuvio Espress (about 10 euro per person returnticket)
Vesuvius is quite a steep climb and beware: when you have almost reached the part where you can almost see the crater, that's where you'll find a pay point...(and it didn't come cheap, but oh well: if you have made it that far you are not inclined to turn around and go back... but now at least you know affront.)
Take the bus back to Ercolano and the circumvesuviana to Pompeii
Go for a bit of shopping in Pompeii and afterwards grab a pizza or terrific canneloni at 'Zi Catherina'
Day 6 Going back to Naples, the Garibaldi station and go left this time. Here are the ' Cumana' platforms. From her you can take the train to Pozzuoli
The archaeological park of Baia is accessable with the artecard. Don't forget to visit the Temple of Venus. This town was called 'little Rome' and elected summer residence of the Roman emperors at the end of the republic. There was a big Thermal complex, enlarged by several Roman emperors. The 'Terme di Diana and Terma di Mercurio and the brilliant stucco are worth the visit. Also take a look at the Sosandra Complex and the Villa del' Ambulatio
You of course also have to walk up to the Aragonese Castle of Baia (via Castello 39), built by Alfonso II towards the end of 1400 (might have been build on or around the ruins of the villa of Caesar) It houses the archaeological museum of the Phlegrean Fields in Baia.
After that you can go back to Pompeii, hang by the pool and have dinner in the hotelrestaurant: not bad at all! (also: when you are not staying at Hotel dei Misterii you can still have dinner in the restaurant....)
Day 7 Have breakfast at bar scambatti around 08:45 Around 09:15 take the circumvesuviana to Sorrento, wher you will arrive around 10-ish. Start off with a nice walk
11:00 great museum with archaeology but also paintings ( I love the Magdalena which I think is made by Artemisia)
13:00 of course time for Luncheon, get a nice pizza or panino near the Piazza, after that there's a lot you can do: of course shopping, Sorrento has lots of nice shops with nice artisinal products, you can go for a swim or a long walk at the beach, maybe visit the lemon-plantations, afterwards of course go for a cold limoncello.
They have several great gellaterie, so do go for a scoop or two!
After that, walk 'down town' to the Marina Grande where you can see fisherman, old ladies fixing fishnets and there's a small restaurant with a terrace IN the sea.
Nice ambiance, also just to drink a glass of wine
Brilliant fish platter and the dessert... wow! Very nice, helpfull staff
Day 8 after breakfast take the train (circumvesuviana) to Torre Annunziata.
09:30 make your way to Villa Oplontis (artecard is valid, openinghours: 09:00-1 hour before sunset)
The villa is not fully excavated, still a work in progress. It was a really large villa with over 90 (!) rooms. The villa is said to have been owned by Poppeae Sabina, the second wife of Nero.
12:00 after that visit villa Boscoreale with the museum. Again, the artecard is accepted. (openinghours 08:30-19:00, Via Sette Termini)
This is a so-called villa rustica, a country house of which only a small part was in use as farm house.
Strange is the Lava-dog. The explanations in the museum are good.
After visiting a lot of Roman villa's and getting to recognize the different wall-painting styles you can return to Pompeii, do a bit of shopping, eating icecream near the central square and after that dress up for a nice occassion!
This will be a once in a lifetime experience, a nice restaurant where ancient cooking is highly praised!
Day 9 Take the Circumvesuviana from Pompeii to Sorrento and make your way to the docks Best boat to take, that all depends on the moment really: sometimes the schedule is better with this company, sometimes with the other, and also prices tend to vary: if one ship is fully booked and the other not yet it will lower the prices sometimes...But it really doesn't differ that much, unless you take the fast boat. (of course more expensive), all the pay points are situated at the same dock, so it's easy to compare.
11:00 arrival at Capri. Take the cable way up to the centre. The walking path to Villa Jovis is sign posted. On your way up you might want to buy some food for a picnic. On your way you will have some great 'kodak- moments'.
No artecard here, but also not too expensive. Don't forget to eat some torta caprese in the cafe next to Villa Jovis (da Alberto)with magnificent view!
When you get back to town, taste (and buy) some limoncello and maybe buy a torta caprese near the cable way to take home.
After descending wander around the Marina Grande, there are some lovely restaurants with fish here, nice touristy shops and behind the jetty, to the left when facing the sea, there's a really nice almost private beach
After arriving back in Sorrento after the boattrip from Capri, you can end your day with a nice meal of fresh fish before taking the train back to Pompeii
Day 10, to naples, take the subway to Pozzuoli.
Visit the amphitheatre of Flavius in Pozzuoli, impressive. After that visit the Serapis temple, the Cathedral underwhich you will find a Temple of August and visit the Piscina Cardito.
History, monuments etc.
12:00 Then take the bus to Cuma (strange itenary though: check if busses go back or get some other form of transportation! (The walk back to the nearest other busstop is quite a walk).
The amfitheatre is good, but the Temple of Cybille is amazing!
15:00 After returning to Pozzuoli take a guided tour
In the bus on your way over to Cuma you will see the Arco Felice, a roman monument to reach roads quicker.
Solfatara is the one Vulcano still active. In west Pozzuoli you can get a guided tour through the old buildings that are now vacant (crater of the Gauro). Don't forget the museum of the Campi Flegrei (with artecard)
After that you can find your way back to Naples, have a pizza at one of the 'vero pizza' places and return to Pompeii
Day 11 09:30 after breakfast take the circumvesuviana to Castellamare dis Stabia and follow the signs to the villae.
Stabiae has 3 important villas:
First visit Villa Arrianna, what fantastic frescoes you will see here: the crickets and the lovely nymphs.
It's a bit of a walk, but doable: Secondo Complesso
and villa S. Marco is the last one, it has a good map of the villa with some explanation about the architecture and the frescoes. Excavations are still going on here. There is a good guidebooklet, but unfortunately only in Italian. The website of stabiae is very good AND in English so you can find all your information there
Deepfried pizza, dessert pizza, you name it, they've got it, have a beer or wine from the tap with that, enjoy and after that go for a stroll around the piazza with a nice italian icecream cone
Day 12 08:19 From the other railwaystation in Pompei, and also from Naples, you can take the trenitalia to Paestum. About 1 hour (also a bar for coffee at this trainstation!)
Train itenary to Paestum
09:45 enter the beautiful Temple field. Lots to see so take your time.
Temple of Hera
Temple of Athena
Temple of Neptune
After this visit go for a simple meal in one of the restaurants (ristorante Simposium) and order something with mozzarella (insalata caprese or a pizza margharita will blow you away!)
Not only visit the excavation, also visit the buffola- farms and get some fresh mozzarella!
(Fatoria del Casaro is a good farm near the excavations with buffalo's and cheese)
After that: visit the museum and be amazed by the tomb of the diver! (read up on it to be even more impressed!)
R. Ross Holloway. The Tomb of the Diver, in American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 110, n. 3, July 2006 (pp. 365?388)
A. Pontrandolfo, A. Rouveret, M. Cipriani. The painted tombs of Paestum. Pandemos Editions, Paestum, 2004
Day 13 10:00 another day in Naples. We now of course know how to get there! So after breakfast we'll take the train again.
You're in for a treat, these catacombs are huge and the frescoes amazing, you'll have to descend quite a bit it really is well worth it. Here you can find the tomb of Saint Januarius and get to learn about early christianity
12:00 Underneath the old monastery you get to see fantastic excavations, well explained in a booklet you can obtain in the museum.
14:00 On the highest point of the city, Vomerohill, with splendid view on the city stands this robust impressive castle from the 13th/14th century.
There's a funicolare going up the hill, so you don't have to walk all the way up.
After that there's plenty of time to do some shopping, get some icecream, go for a drink on a terrace, just take in the city.
19:00 Really great place to eat, everything is so fresh, simple but delicious. Don't skip dessert!!
Day 14 There's no way you could have seen it all in ancient Pompeii on your first visit. After all these days in Campania, visiting the other villae, the museums etc. you now know what to focus on, so return to the town, which you can still do with the arte card.
With the famous 'Cave Canem' in the fauces (hallway)
Also see the House of Menander
Temple of Asklepios
- and also Casa della fontana picola with terrific Nilotic scenes
- Suburban thermae with again Nilotic scenes
Day 15 last day, check out, last breakfast at bar scambati. Check out and take your bags with you to Naples where you can store them at the trainstation. Go up to capodimonte where you can visit the beautiful artmuseum with the beautiful ballroom, works of Carravaccio and Artemisia.
Sfter this visit time for a bit of souvenirshopping and then the bus back to the airport.
Hope you've enjoyed your stay!