Road Trip Through Southern Italy - Pompeii & Ischia, Campania
Good morning and happy Thursday. Right now, I’m on my way to the airport, heading to Cyprus for a vacation with my best friends, so be prepared for lots of pictures on Instagram (finally again, as I’ve been very busy the last 2 weeks). Today, a new part of the little series where I tell you everything about my 6 months in Italy is ready for you, and I’m continuing right where I stopped last week by telling you about my road trip through Southern Italy, and this time it’s all about Pompeii and Ischia. I know we’re not quite “southern” yet, but rather in central Italy, but don’t worry, the road trip covered that as well.
Last week, I told you everything about our stay in Naples, and we continued to use the city as our home base for the following day while we went on exploring more of Campania, a lovely part of Italy. Our next big stop was Pompeii. It is easily reached by train and definitely has to be on your list when visiting Naples. As everywhere in Italy, the train was very cheap, and it took us only a short time to arrive next to the famous Vesuvio.
As you might now, Pompeii was a rather large city, with a bit more than 10,000 people, that was buried under lava when the Vesuvio erupted around AD 79. The whole town was buried in lava and still until today, new parts are being discovered regularly. The most important thing to keep in mind when visiting is definitely to wear comfortable shoes as the site is vast – I mean it actually was a real city! – and your feet are going to kill you if you opt for fashionable sandals or anything similar.
Our day in Pompeii was not off to a good start when it started to rain heavily on our way from the train station to the entrance, so we decided to turn around and head back to the city. But by the time we arrived back at the train station, we had missed our train by minutes, and the next one would only arrive 2 hours later. After waiting in a café for a while, the sun came out, and it started to get really hot, so we decided to give it another try. But luck was not in our favour once more, as by the time we arrived it was just around noon, and the site closes at noon until 2 o’clock. So, we had to wait in line for nearly two hours, while the queue was getting bigger and bigger. But luckily, as it was Sunday, the entrance was free, even though it was a holiday, so keep that in mind. Of course, there are even more people on a day when admission is free, but you can at least save some money.
We were truly worried about the number of people that were waiting in line with us, but I have to tell you, as soon as the doors opened, you were not able to feel the crowds anymore. The whole area is so vast and immense, it feels as if millions of people could fit in there. But now let’s talk about the area itself. Pompeii was truly impressive. Walking around, knowing about the history of the city is just insane. There are lots of houses of important people of the time, theatres, thermal baths, remains of towers, Basilicas and even sanctuaries. And the statues are impressive as well.
You can spend endless hours there and still would not have seen everything. But, you can also get lost quite easily. If you are visiting Pompeii in a group, pay attention to each other, so you don’t lose someone. For me, Pompeii was one of the most exciting parts of this trip, and I can only highly recommend you visit it as well if you ever have the chance to.
As you might have realised, our time in Naples and its surroundings was quite a turbulent one. Well, our day trip to Ischia was nothing short of that. In fact, it was quite horrible.
From our hotel, we took the bus to get directly to the haven of Naples, Napoli Porto, from where we took the speed boat to Ischia. There are also lots of boats to Capri, but these are even more expensive than the ones to Ischia. The journey lasted less than an hour, but on the way, one of my friends got really sick. After arriving in Casamicciola Terme, she already felt way better, so we decided to continue our day just as planned. We rented a car and wanted to explore the island in more detail.
We decided to head to Ischia Ponte, where the Castello Aragonese is located, and even agreed to stay there for lunch, as it was such a cute little town, full of lovely restaurants and cafés, fisher boats and shops. That’s where everything went south as during lunch another friend noticed he’s not feeling too well either. We decided to cut our day short and head back to the mainland, but it was quite tricky getting my two sick friends back and we had to make a quick stop at Ischia, the capital of the city, to head to the pharmacy.
After missing a boat, just as we missed our train the day before, we luckily were able to get onto another one, and by the time we got back to Naples, it was already getting dark. Honestly, it was pretty sad that we did not get to experience Ischia the way we wanted, but we saw enough of the island to know that we definitely have to get back there one day and finally explore it in detail. But maybe without some sickness.
I hope you liked this really turbulent part of my road trip, and I can assure you, the following days were actually calmer and a lot more plans worked out we wanted them to. The next day, my two sick friends left, and I picked up another friend with whom I went on the rest of the trip, and I can’t wait to tell you all about that next week!