For years, I have dreamed of traveling to Southern Italy, and last week, my dream came true. After spending several days in Rome and the Amalfi Coast, we made Naples our home base and set off to explore Pompeii!
History of Pompeii
On August 29, 70 A.D. Mount Vesuvius erupted, covering the city of Pompeii in approximately 6 meters of thick volcanic ash. For 17 centuries, Pompeii remained largely preserved, frozen in time. It wasn’t until 1748 that Pompeii was discovered and excavations began.
Over the years, excavations have provided detailed insight into the everyday life of the ancient Romans. Pompeii was a very wealthy city, with luxurious homes and lavish decorations, and a complex yet influential political and social system. The magnificent architecture shows the economic significance of Pompeii, particularly with its close proximity to the Bay of Naples. Entertainment was also very important to the ancient Romans; several amphitheaters have been excavated, once utilized for gladiator fighting, animal slaying and public executions.
Pompeii is sight to be seen, and it is hard to grasp how Pompeii continues to be a tangible force in modern day life. From Roman city development to art and architecture, Pompeii has, and continues to, influence social, economic, religious and political life in the present world.
Tour Guide or Solo Exploration?
We originally planned to explore Pompeii on our own, but at the last minute, we booked an AirBNB Experience with an archaeologist, and oh man, I am so glad we did. Pompeii is huge! Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable and he was able to show us the highlights of Pompeii and share historical facts we would have otherwise missed. The tour lasted 2 hours, and at the end, we were able to explore Pompeii on our own.
Transportation to Pompeii
We had read public transportation to Pompeii wasn’t exactly reliable, and we can now attest that public transportation to Pompeii isn’t reliable at all! When we arrived at the train station in Naples, we encountered a train strike. Fortunately, another train company was offering “minimal transportation services,” so we jumped on the next train to Pompeii, arriving just in time for our tour. Make sure to plan ahead — we downloaded the Trenitalia app and found it extremely useful.
Mount Vesuvius Wine Tasting
Saving the best for last! I love visiting wineries, and when I read Mount Vesuvius is home to several wineries, I just knew we had to go! Mount Vesuvius is the only active volcano on continental Europe, and it’s volcanic soils — full of papilla, dusts and potassium, represent the majority of the vine varieties on Vesuvius.
If you’re looking to taste wine after exploring Pompeii, you’ll have several wineries to chose from. We decided to visit Bosco de’ Medici, and our visit could not have been more perfect.
Family-run, Bosco de’ Medici is an experimental vineyard with a future-forward perspective on wine tasting. The winery is beautiful, the staff incredibly knowledgeable and friendly, and the wine delicious to the last drop!
Our visit started in the wine cellar, tasting two sparkling wines, before moving out to the terrace to select our lunch and wine tasting menu. Having visited several wineries in Italy, I have found Italian wine tasting to be very different than tastings in the US! Tasting sizes are not limited to a tasting pour, but instead, you are free to revisit, and visit, new and old wines! Our sommelier was so incredibly helpful, and he helped us pick the perfect wines to be shipped home. After lunch, we were given a tour of the winery — we were even taken to a recently excavated cemetery of Pompeii located on the winery property! Needless to say, visiting Bosco de’ Medici was an incredible experience.
Bosco de’ Medici is about a 10 minute walk to the train station, and transportation back to Naples was so much easier than coming to Pompeii. Again, make sure to use the Trenitalia app for an updated list of train times. Arrivederci!