The day will start with a scenic drive on the slopes of Mt Vesuvius. You will be driving across the National Park of Mt Vesuvius, through the pine reservation and next to the solidified lavas from the last eruption in 1944. On the way up you can already enjoy great views of Naples and the Bay. Also on view is the Volcanological Observatory, the first-ever founded in Europe in 1841 by the Bourbons of Naples!
After a 30 minutes drive up, you will start on foot the ascent to the top of the crater. On your left the impressive silhouette of Mt Somma, which is part of the rim of the original volcano that erupted on 79 AD and buried Pompeii. The walk to the top requires about 25 minutes up the hill on a terrain mostly made out of volcanic ash. On the way up you can admire the Bay of Naples and Pozzuoli, and the three islands of Capri, Ischia and Procida.
Once on the very top, there will be a short commentary of a volcanologist who will point out the main scientific facts about Mt Vesuvius. Marvel at the massive size of the main crater, its colors and the steam geysers one can see during the wintertime.
If you wish, you can walk around half of the rim. On a clear day, the ancient Pompeii can be distinguished at the foot of the volcano. You can certainly take great pictures of Capri and the Sorrento Coast.
At midday, you can decide to stop at a winery on Mt Vesuvius for lunch or take a break for a light-lunch directly at Pompeii. Please do not hesitate to ask your driver-guide for suggestions.
The Excavations of Pompeii are extended on a surface of approximately 160 acres. To make the best of your time Leisure Italy offers qualified guided service. Our guided walking tour shall be adapted to the interests and walking attitude of the participants. The following is a possible itinerary on a private guided walking tour. Please let us know would you have any special requests.
In Pompeii, you will first admire the city walls, dating back to the pre-roman Pompeii (4 centuries BC). One of the best-preserved ancient gates is called Porta Marina, it connected Pompeii with its port, with a path for charts and one for people.
Right before this gate, there is a not-to-be-missed, the Suburban Bath House, recently excavated and therefore very well preserved.
Once in town, you will be walking on the original road made by basalt stone (volcanic rock), and you will notice on the ground hundreds of little white spots made of travertine which were used to reflect torchlight (this is what nowadays people call “cat’s eye”).
Your attention will be caught by big blocks of basalt emerging from the road: they were stepping stones used by pedestrians to avoid getting wet when it rained; differently from other roman towns, Pompeii didn’t have a complete sewer system because the city was build on top of a lava platform too hard to be worked.
The city center was called the Forum, it hosts all the buildings with a public function: Religion (the Temple of Apollo, the Capitolium and the Temple of the Emperor), Trade (the meat and fish market called Macellum, the textiles market headed by a priestess called Eumachia), Administration (the Basilica) and Politics (Comitium). Other facilities in the Forum where exchange offices, public restrooms and a public scale (tabula mensurae) where to compare and weigh farmer’s products. In the Forum you will also see a display of the famous human casts.
Close to the Forum, there were public Bath-Houses where both men and women (in different sections), poor and wealthy, free and slaves could access daily hygiene. Pompeii had 3 of such complexes in town plus 2 right outside the town, and they all had the following facilities: a changing room (apodyterium), a tepid room (tepidarium), a hot room (calidarium) and a Gym (Palestra).
You will notice several places fronting the road with large vases built in a masonry counter: this is what the Romans called popinae, today’s taverns! Those earthenware jars were filled up with food and beverages, and very many ancient Pompeians would stop in such places for lunch.
You will certainly recognize some of the Bakeries of Pompeii, with their ovens and their grinding machines: incredible but true some round carbonized loaves of bread were found during the excavations. This is nowadays on exhibit at the Archaeological Museum of Naples together with more carbonized organics such as almonds, pine cones, figs, dates, etc…
Your visit would be incomplete without the red light district: the Brothel (Lupanare) shows us today an interesting display of roman frescoes featuring several erotic images!
Do not miss the chance to discover Pompeii places for public performances: an outdoor Theater (for comedy and tragedy), an indoor theatre (Odeion, for mimes and declamation of poetry) and a big amphitheater (for games like gladiators or beast fights). You shall visit at least one of those places.
Pompeii is too big to be visited entirely in one day. Leisure Italy will make sure you see the highlights. Our optional guided tour aims to visit an example for each typology of building.
After the tour at Pompeii you could stop for a few minutes for a fresh-squeezed orange juice or to browse the souvenir shops if you wish.