Five days in Pompeii

What an eye-opening and life-enriching five days in Pompeii. We stayed at the cozy Villa Franca B&B, a mere ten-minute walk from the Pompeii Archeological Park, and enjoyed every minute of our adventure in Pompeii and the surrounding area.

History of Pompeii and Herculaneum

I am sure you all know the story of Pompeii from school, but here’s a quick refresher. In 79 AD Mount Vesuvius horrifically erupted and buried the town of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and other smaller villages under up to 20 feet of volcanic ash, killing probably 1,200 people, just in Pompeii.

The eruption lasted for two days, so many were able to escape before the fast-moving ash, gases, and lava materials began their high-speed race to the coast. Pompeii is six miles from Mount Vesuvius, and Herculaneum is five.

The towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum were covered in ash, where they remained until discovered in the 18th century, mostly intact. I read all I could find about Pompeii before our trip. I recommend searching around online and discovering more about the history of Pompeii and Herculaneum before you visit.

Train to Pompeii

Steve and I spent four eye-opening days in Naples before traveling by train to Pompeii. We took a local train that frequently runs each day and did not pre-purchase tickets.

The trip on the train was uneventful and comfortable, but I was again not delighted to have to carry luggage along with me everywhere – spoiled American, maybe? The train station in Pompeii is small. We walked off the train platform and out almost right into the street.

We could see the Archeological Park just a few feet off to the right as we walked out of the station. I had, as in all locations we visited, downloaded all possible map directions we could ever need onto my cell phone. I loaded up the Google map to Villa Franca B&B from the train station, and off we went.

It was an easy walk, except for having to drag luggage, of course. We would walk back to this train station every day of our stay in Pompeii. Here is where the restaurants, shops, the Archeological Park are, and the train that took us on our day trip to Herculaneum and finally on to Salerno at the end of our visit here. 

Villa Franca

What a gem! Villa Franca B&B is a small family-run one-story B&B with clean and comfortable rooms. The friendly manager greeted us with an ice-cold drink poolside and encouraged us to relax and enjoy the day, and that is what we did. I cannot recommend this B&B enough.

It is small. The rooms are comfortable, not fancy or elegant, but very clean and functional. It felt as if we were visiting someone’s home. There is no indoor dining facility. The B&B serves all meals under the covered patio overlooking the pool.

Breakfasts, included in the low room rate, were simple, healthy, and filling. The dinners, though! The B&B offers home-cooked three, four, five, six, two-hundred-course meals in the evenings at 7 p.m. sharp, and at an extra charge of I believe 20 euros each.

I have exaggerated a bit here about the number of courses. It was just so much excellent food. We had dinner here every single night except one and enjoyed the food tremendously. Here is a quote from Villa Franca’s booking confirmation describing the evening meals. 

You will try Buffalo Mozzarella, Bruschette, a different type of salami and ham, different types of the traditional way of cooking of vegetables, fry special, and of course the PASTA, Lasagna, Spaghetti Sea Food, Carbonara, Spaghetti Bolognese, Ravioli……..

Villa Franca

There were just a lot of different dishes, some I could not identify but tried and always found delicious. We drank the same local wine each night, and every meal ended with Limoncello. The most beautiful part of our nightly dinners was the time we spent visiting and laughing with the other guests.

We met people from all over the world, young and old, and had the best time telling travel stories and laughing together late each evening.  Strangers became friends, maybe not long-term always, but sometimes. The people we meet are why we enjoy travel so much.

The Archeological Park at Pompeii

Need to know before visiting:

  • Wear comfortable, already broken-in, shoes. You will be walking on uneven cobblestones, A LOT! If you wear comfortable shoes, you will be just fine.
  • You cannot carry large backpacks or bags into the Park for security reasons and because there is a danger that large items could brush or rub up against walls and structures, causing damage to surfaces.
  • Take water into the Park. You can refill your container inside the Park at no cost.  It is a big Park and requires a lot of walking. 
  • Take food inside the park if you plan to stay all day or grab food at the bustling and often crowded cafeteria inside the Park. Restrooms are located in this building also. 
  • Take a hat and sunscreen on sunny days. There is very little shade, and many buildings in the Park do not have roofs. 
  • Take a guided tour! Purchase a guided tour once you are inside the gate of the Park. Those tours seemed to be a smaller size group.
  • We did not, but you can pre-purchase your tickets. We did have to stand in line for a very long time the second time we went to the Park, but that was on a Saturday.

We spent two full days at the Park.  We purchased tickets only for our first trip, were given a map of the extensive grounds, and struck out by ourselves to see what we could see. The second time we visited the Park we took a guided tour and enjoyed the day much better.

We learned a lot about what we looked at on our first visit and discovered things we would never have seen or even known to look for without the expertise of a guide.

Five days in Pompeii

This is a Thermopolium, a fast-food counter! The holes in the counter contained large jars in which drinks (wine) and ready-to-eat foods such as bread, cheese, or fish were stored that the people of Pompeii could grab and eat on the run.

Five days in Pompeii

Prostitution and brothels were quite legal and very popular in Pompeii. As a matter of fact, there were so many brothels that street corner walls with these carvings indicated that a brothel would be found on that street!

Five days in Pompeii

This restaurant, a short walk from our B&B and very near Villa Dei Misteri, was a remarkable find. Those lemons and oranges are growing on those trees! A fresh-squeezed glass of orange juice — oh my!


Five days in Pompeii

Like nearby Pompeii, Herculaneum was one of the towns preserved primarily intact after the Mount Vesuvius eruption. Herculaneum differs from Pompeii because the volcanic eruption covered it differently than Pompeii, leaving roofs, beds, and doors, all made of wood, better preserved.

Also, Herculaneum, although smaller than Pompeii, was a resort area for wealthy Romans, and a more luxurious structure remains here. The focus at Herculaneum today is on preservation more than excavating more regions.

Most of the 5,000 residents of Herculaneum were able to evacuate the town, although several skeletons in small boat huts at the shoreline were discovered in the early 1980s. Until that time, it was believed that all had evacuated the town. This was indeed a sobering sight to see.

Five days in Pompeii
Skeletons found in boat huts
Five days in Pompeii

Through art we invite everyone to stay at home to fight the coronavirus emergency and stop the infection. Cartoons and satire must not necessarily be used to ridicule the problem, but also to send positive message though a pop language that all can understand.

Sweet home mural and quote by Pompeii artist, Nello Petrucci

Five days in Pompeii

10 thoughts on “Five days in Pompeii

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  2. Very interesting! Really want to schedule a trip to Italy to see it all! Thanks for the information!!

    1. You are welcome. We were in Pompeii five whole days and enjoyed every single day. So much to see!

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  6. Thank you for the trip through Pompeii and Herculaneum. I’ve been to Pompeii. But never visited Herculaneum. I had a nice chat with your husband about your blog. Good luck with it. It’s enjoyable.

    1. Thank you for taking a look and I’m happy you enjoyed it, I appreciate your comment.

  7. Thamks for the history lesson refresher and inspiration for future travel. Oh, the food and people is also what keeps me wanting to travel!

    1. I’m happy you enjoyed this story. The food was truly out of this world!

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