We couldn't have asked for a better day than our excursion with our guide Ilaria of Private Tours! My husband and I departed from Naples and started before the crowds converged onto Pompeii. She dazzled us with details that really brought the tour to life, and brought together what could have been an exhausting, confusing collection of ruins (albeit spectacular) into something coherent, fascinating, and touching. By pointing out the details of how people lived--and died--our tour guide brought us a sense of intimacy and understanding of the site in ways that a guidebook could never do. Her passion, though, was Herculaneum--it's what she studies, lives, and breathes, and her expertise shows on the afternoon tour of the more compact, but equally awe-inspiring, ruins of this more overlooked site. I definitely would recommend touring Herculaneum with her. Tour it with Pompeii, or tour Herculaneum by itself. It was a long day, but we didn't notice--Ilaria is that good. Yes, they stop for a planned lunch at a vinyard that at first glance screams tourist trap--but it was a very pleasant experience, the wines were delicious, and the food simple, filling and, oh, actually very very good! This tour was simply the highlight of our trip that included Rome, Naples, and the Amalfi coast. Ottimo!
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