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Daytrip to Pompeii from Rome by Train

GAC
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Daytrip to Pompeii from Rome by Train

HINTS ON BOOKING A DAYTRIP FROM ROME TO POMPEII BY TRAIN:

Pompeii represents one of the most popular day trips by train from Rome, even though the world-famous archeological site most certainly deserves much more time than just one day, and indeed can easily occupy two full days of sightseeing. Many tour operators offer guided bus tours of Pompeii out of Rome: some of these are very expensive (over 100 Euros), others somewhat less so. However, many travelers really prefer NOT to take an organized bus tour, but instead to go “on their own” by train, thereby allowing maximum flexibility to choose departure times and pacing of the excursion. This article will give some information and hints on how to make the most of such a self-organized day trip.

Rome to Pompeii by train involves two distinct segments:

(1) Rome (Termini Station) to Naples (Napoli Centrale train station) by Trenitalia reserved train; and

(2) Napoli Centrale (underground platforms of Circumvesuviana commuter rail) to Pompei Scavi (Villa dei Misteri) Station by unreserved Circumvesuviana commuter rail.

Let’s start with Segment 1 (ROME TO NAPLES):

ASSUMPTION: Because the vast majority of travelers will want to depart from and return to Roma TERMINI Station (and not the MUCH less convenient Roma Tiburtina Station), I am not going to discuss the option of taking ITALO TRENO for this day trip. In any case, Trenitalia offers MANY more trains on this route, with five different train categories (versus one type of train for ITALO), and matches/betters the discount fares of ITALO TRENO in every respect. Furthermore, Trenitalia has more generous children’s fares and several other discount fares not offered by ITALO. I am also going to assume that nobody will want to pay extra for first class on such a short trip and without any luggage, so all fares quoted below are for second class seats.

1. On the southbound trip to Naples, choose a departure time that is comfortable for you, and allows you to get to Termini Station from your hotel without rushing. During the hot summer months, many people find it convenient to take earlier trains than during the winter, when sunrise comes later, particularly if they're headed to Pompeii. The very first train of the morning currently departs at 5:42 (a Trenitalia unreserved "regionale" train costing only 11.20 Euros), arriving in Naples at 8:10, and trains continue thereafter at 30-60 minute intervals. The next two departures are reserved Intercity (IC) trains at 6:26 and 7:26, getting into Naples two hours later. These IC trains have a “BASE” fare of 24.50 Euros, and an advance-purchase SUPER ECONOMY fare as low as 9 Euros. The first super-fast train (a reserved Frecciarossa) sets out at 7:35, arriving in Naples 70 minutes later. The Frecciarossa/Frecciargento trains take the high-speed rail line nonstop to Naples, and have a “BASE” fare of 43 Euros and a SUPER ECONOMY fare as low as 19 Euros. All other trains take the somewhat more scenic traditional rail line.

2. Since you have total control over the schedule for the southbound trip, I recommend saving money and booking one of the discounted advance purchase fares (such as the SUPER ECONOMY fare). Before doing so, look up the restrictive rules and regulations for these fares (RESERVED trains only):

www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/index.jsp…

www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/index.jsp…

If you’re travelling on a SATURDAY, you might profit from the “TWO FOR ONE” fare (RESERVED trains only):

www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/index.jsp…

NOTE: Two tickets at the SUPER ECONOMY fare of 19 Euros (9 Euros for the IC train) are cheaper than two tickets at the “TWO FOR ONE” fare of 43 Euros (24.50 Euros for the IC train)!

If you’ve read the terms and conditions of these discounted fares, you’ll see that most discounted tickets are non-refundable, and some are also non-changeable. Consequently, you must be very firm about the departure date and time if you select one of these discounted fares. Don’t fall into the trap of “buyer’s remorse”.

DANGERS OF BOOKING DISCOUNTED FARES (RESERVED trains)

You cannot afford to MISS your reserved train if holding one of the discounted tickets. Otherwise, you FORFEIT the ticket in its entirety!

By contrast, if you purchase the “BASE” fare ticket and MISS the reserved train, you have a ONE HOUR GRACE PERIOD to re-book, free of charge, to a later-departing reserved train. With a “BASE” fare ticket, PRIOR to scheduled departure, you are allowed to make unlimited changes to your reservation to an earlier OR later-departing train), all free of charge. “BASE” fare tickets are also refundable PRIOR to scheduled departure (minus a 20% forfeiture).

www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/index.jsp…

You are apt to find the lowest discounted fares by booking as early as possible (but in no case more than FOUR MONTHS beforehand). Nevertheless, during slow travel periods you will likely find good discounted fares even a couple of days beforehand. Use the Trenitalia website to purchase an ELECTRONIC ticket in advance.

3. Should you book the RETURN trip from Naples to Rome in advance as well? My advice is NOT to do so (unless your travel plans are set in stone and you are willing to follow an ironclad schedule), because you will likely decide once in Pompeii (or in Naples) that you want the freedom to take some extra time where appropriate and not be compelled to march to the drumbeat of the return train schedule. Remember that return trains are VERY frequent (every 30 minutes on average), and usually NOT completely full (there are exceptional days, of course). Moreover, you risk forfeiting your ticket on the Rome-bound return train if you MISS the connection in Naples owing to a late-running Circumvesuviana commuter train (which happens more frequently than you’d like to think).

4. On the return trip, think about taking one of the hourly IC trains, at the “BASE” fare of 24.50 Euros. These trains take twice as long as the twice-as-expensive Frecciarossa/Frecciargento trains, but after a long day walking around Pompeii, you may find that having an extra hour sitting on the return train is not so bad after all. You might even take a short snooze. Allow yourself enough time to buy the paper ticket at the station (either from an electronic machine or at the busy staffed windows).

HINT: If you can live with the possibility of a ticket forfeiture due to a missed connection, you could book the 9-Euro SUPER ECONOMY fare for the return IC train and save money for dinner another day. This however removes any flexibility in your return schedule.

5. If you're on a very tight budget, remember that the slowest train, the unreserved and non-discountable "regionale", costs only 11.20 Euros (called the “ORDINARIA” fare), and is really not so bad if you're not terribly fussy about having "state of the art" railcars. These trains, however, run every two hours of so, versus the hourly Freccia and IC trains.

CHILDREN’S FARES:

www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/index.jsp…

NOTE: On the unreserved “regionale” trains, children up to the age of 12 years, 0 days travel for 50% of the “ORDINARIA” fare. On the reserved trains (if the “BIMBI GRATIS” fare is not offered) children up to the age of 15 years, 0 days travel for 50% of the adult fare (with a minimum fare of 9 or 10 Euros).

TWO FOR ONE FARE (Saturdays only; RESERVED trains only):

www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/index.jsp…

COSTS OF ROUND-TRIP TRAVEL:

As you can see, the cost of round-trip travel between Rome and Naples varies according to the train category and specific fare chosen. The HIGHEST fare (“BASE” fare round-trip on the Frecciarossa/Frecciargento) is 86 Euros. The LOWEST fare (SUPER ECONOMY fare round-trip on the IC) is only 18 Euros (which is less than 40% of the cost of a one-way taxi from central Rome to Roma FCO airport)! Combining train and/or fare categories results in a variety of possible round-trip fares. A REASONABLE fare to pay would be 43.50 Euros (19 Euros SUPER ECONOMY fare on the southbound Frecciarossa/Frecciargento and 24.50 Euros “BASE” fare on the northbound IC), but you could easily lower this to 28 or even 18 Euros round-trip.

DIFFERENCES IN TRAIN CATEGORIES:

What's the difference among the various classes of trains?: The Frecciarossa train is the flagship of the Trenitalia fleet. It is the most modern, state-of-the-art train in Italy, comparable to ITALO TRENO. It goes nonstop between Rome and Naples along the high-speed rail line in only 70 minutes, or twice as fast as the much older IC train. A few Frecciarossas continue on to Salerno. The Frecciargento train is the “younger brother” of the Frecciarossa, only slightly less impressive, yet making the trip to Naples nonstop in the same amount of time along the high-speed rail line, and costing exactly the same. The Frecciargento lacks a formal dining car (which you won’t use for a trip of only 70 minutes), but has snack/beverage service. The Frecciabianca train (which goes to Reggio Calabria) is the “kid brother” of the fleet, a full two steps down from the Frecciarossa, but it too goes nonstop to Naples in 105 minutes (except utilizing the more scenic traditional rail line which skirts the coastline around Formia). It uses upgraded and restyled IC railcars, and is only slightly faster than the much cheaper and worn IC train. The traditional IC train is definitely "long in the tooth" when compared to the Frecciarossa: it usually has separate compartments with sliding glass doors, each seating six passengers three across and face-to-face, and takes about 120 minutes with three short en-route stops between Rome and Naples along the traditional rail line. Many IC trains continue on to Calabria or Sicily. In 2013, a few IC trains used the antiquated “Pendolino” Eurostar railcars, which have low ceilings and extremely limited luggage space. These very old railcars are being phased out of service. Other IC trains are being upgraded to a service level not dissimilar to that of the Frecciabianca trains. The very modest unreserved "regionale" commuter train takes over 150 minutes along the traditional rail line, and makes many en-route stops. With a connection in Naples, these trains also go to Salerno, Paestum and Agropoli. The advantage of the "regionale" is that you can get a dirt-cheap fare WITHOUT an advance purchase. However, notice that the cheapest SUPER ECONOMY fare for the IC train (9 Euros) is even lower than the “ORDINARIA” fare of "regionale" train! The most prevalent trains between Rome and Naples are the Frecciarossa and the IC.

Segment 2 (NAPLES TO POMPEII)

You’ve made it to Naples, now comes part two of the trip: Naples to Pompeii, by UNRESERVED Circumvesuviana commuter train. You need to walk about 10 minutes to the underground platforms at Napoli Centrale station, along well-illuminated and signposted corridors. Give yourself 15 minutes for extra comfort. Escalators, elevators and stairs are present, and there are many shops useful for travelers. Purchase tickets at the Circumvesuviana ticket counters before going through the turnstiles. A few facts:

Railcars: several types, although most are old and without air conditioning or washrooms. There are a few modern trains with a/c.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YP5tn2k7Bw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IW_L9aSec0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUM7UCbP6AQ

BEWARE: expect very crowded railcars during commute hours, with passengers standing and no room for suitcases. BEWARE OF PICKPOCKETS AND COMMON TRICKS TO DISTRACT TRAVELLERS. Keep a vigilant eye on your valuables at all times.

Frequency: every 30 minutes (although the operator has a reputation for sometimes missing some runs)

eavcampania.it/web/…20viceversa.pdf

Length of trip: Most trains take 36 minutes and make 17 stops en-route (a few trains classified as “direttissimi” or “DD” take only 23 minutes with four stops)

Fare: 2.90 Euros one way (UNICO CAMPANIA U3 biglietto orario). On Saturday or Sunday, you save money by purchasing a round-trip ticket for only 4.60 Euros (UNICO CAMPANIA U3 biglietto weekend giornaliero). You must validate the ticket before boarding the train.

www.unicocampania.it/index.php…

Get off at the Pompei Scavi Villa dei Misteri station (the station after Torre Annunziata) and walk 150 yards to the site entrance across the street. The site opens DAILY at 8:30 a.m. The entrance ticket costs 11 Euros.

GOING TO HERCULANEUM (ERCOLANO)?

The same Circumvesuviana train going to Pompei Scavi also stops beforehand at the Ercolano Scavi station, from where you walk about 10 minutes downhill (Via IV Novembre) to the archeological site. Ercolano Scavi is only 17 minutes by train from Napoli Centrale, and the fare is 2.20 Euros each way (UNICO CAMPANIA U2 ticket). BETWEEN Pompeii and Ercolano, the ticket (UNICO CAMPANIA E2) costs 1.60 Euros each way, and travel time is 19 minutes.

HINT: Don't try to visit Pompeii and Herculaneum on the same day!

DISCLAIMER: While every effort has been taken to report current information as of the date published, all schedules and fares must always be re-confirmed prior to departure, as they change from time to time. Discounted promotional fares described above are subject to cancellation, seasonal curtailment, modification, replacement with new fares, or subjection to further limitations. Train categories are not guaranteed, as different equipment is sometimes substituted. Travel times and schedules are subject to delay due to inclement weather, mechanical problems, track maintenance, and labor unrest. The foregoing discussion represents generalized travel information, and does not replace individualized travel planning.

106 replies to this topic
GAC
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11. Re: Daytrip to Pompeii from Rome by Train

The newest Trenitalia electronic machines require credit cards with CHIP & PIN. However, I did successfully use my U.S.-issued DEBIT card with my PIN. I imagine that a credit card with PIN should also work (but did not test this hypothesis).

Iowa
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12. Re: Daytrip to Pompeii from Rome by Train

My goodness what an invaluable resource you are GAC! Thank you so much for your detailed instructions! It leaves one with very few questions......however I do have at least one.;)

My daughter and I will be doing the Rome to Pompeii trip in July. I think I'll take your advice and book the ticket from Rome to Naples but wing it with each of the others so as to leave flexibility in the plan. I don't yet know, but it could be after 5pm when we leave Pompeii or Naples. Am I to understand, that so long as there are trains running, there will be people working the ticket counters? I understand that we could also use the machines (and we will if we have to) but fearing any possible glitches with the use of my debit card or simply with machine malfunction, I'd like to know a person might be there to help us with the transaction.:)

GAC
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13. Re: Daytrip to Pompeii from Rome by Train

The Trenitalia staffed ticket windows at Napoli Centrale are open daily from 5:50 a.m. to 21:10. The electronic ticket machines function 24/7, except when down for maintenance.

I don't know the hours of operation of the ticket window of the Circumvesuviana rail at Pompei Scavi Villa Dei Misteri Station, but presume that it should be open at least through the very late afternoon. There are also ticket machines. In any case, you could purchase a round-trip ticket to Pompei Scavi at the Napoli Centrale Circumvesuviana ticket office, if you prefer doing so. These tickets require validation, since seats are unreserved. Make sure that the RETURN ticket reflects Pompei to Napoli (and not Napoli to Pompei).

GAC
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14. Re: Daytrip to Pompeii from Rome by Train

This website states that the ticket window at Pompei Villa Dei Misteri Station remains open until 23:58 (which seems quite late to me):

stazionidelmondo.it/pompeiscavivilladeimiste…

I don't know when the website was last updated.

In any case, the snack bar inside the station may also sell Circumvesuviana tickets when the ticket office is closed (and I presume that the snack bar would remain open until 8 or 9 p.m. or even later, especially during the summer).

Iowa
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15. Re: Daytrip to Pompeii from Rome by Train

Again, excellent information GAC.:)

I agree 23:58 seems extraordinarily accommodating so I too am skeptical. Still, the pics provided with the link are wonderful as they allow a person to familiarize themselves with the surroundings before they even get there. I like that!

Your information has been most helpful and I will mull it over briefly and decide from there how we will proceed. Thank you again so much!:)

Houston, Texas
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16. Re: Daytrip to Pompeii from Rome by Train

"My daughter and I will be doing the Rome to Pompeii trip in July."

Bring sunscreen and a bunch of water. It was hot when we went in late March, I am sure it will be probably another 20 degrees hotter in July.

bolton
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17. Re: Daytrip to Pompeii from Rome by Train

Thank you!

I have just booked my tickets for this Saturday Rome to Pompeii thanks to your info an links.

:)

Coh
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18. Re: Daytrip to Pompeii from Rome by Train

Thank you so much, that is great info.

I am not sure where to post this as I have a question. I am flying into Rome this Sunday and land at 12:30 in the afternoon and want to visit the following places and don't know where to head first! From Rome airport I need to get luggage then travel (flying back out of Rome 9 days later)to Pompei, Capri 1 overnight, Ravello, and Positano.

I am going w my 14 yr old so not spending more than 3 hours in Pompei!

Which way should I do this ? Go straight to Pompei after airport? Next day to Capri? Thinking early week is quieter than later in the week? A few days based in Positano and visit other towns like Ravello then back to Rome for 2 nights at the end? Any help would be appreciated!

GAC
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19. Re: Daytrip to Pompeii from Rome by Train

I suggest that you create a new posting for this very specific question

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20. Re: Daytrip to Pompeii from Rome by Train

Hello guys.

We are heading to Pompeii for a day trip this Saturday and I don't know If I should book return or one way tickets from Rome to Naples. Can anyone help?

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