Post written by Laura
For the first full day of our Intrepid Italy tour Bridget and I did a trek through the Vesuvius National Park in the morning and visited the ancient Roman city of Pompeii in the afternoon.
Mount Vesuvius is an active volcano located about 9 km from Naples. Vesuvius last erupted in 1944 however the most famous eruption was in AD79 when it destroyed the city of Pompeii.
At 09:00 our Intrepid group were driven by minibus for the short distance from Naples to Vesuvius where we were introduced to our Vesuvius trekking guide Angelo.
From the main carpark with amazing views over the Bay of Naples we trekked up to the crater of Vesuvius with Angelo explaining the history and important facts about the volcano.
We continued hiking in 34 degrees heat around the crater and stopped at a couple of the shelters which also sell drinks and snacks.
After walking for about 30 minutes or so we reached a point where visitors have to stop and turn back again. However you are permitted to continue into the National Park if you are part of a guided tour 🙂 This meant we were able to bypass the final shelter and continue exploring!
The walk took us away from the crater and around the side of Vesuvius amongst the gorgeous wild flowers dotted amongst the volcanic soil.
And we had a fun descent… as we made our way down the side of Vesuvius our feet sank and disappeared into the grey dust.
Our mini bus was waiting for us at the end of our Vesusius trek. We drove the short journey to Pompeii where we had time to buy some lunch before entering the site. There are several cafes and bars just outside the entrance to Pompeii.
We all paid an extra 12 euros each for the services of a guide to show us around Pompeii. We were introduced to Eduardo who spent the next two hours leading us through Pompeii and explaining the structures and ruins.
Pompeii was founded by the Romans in the 6th century BC and flourished until 79AD when Vesuvius erupted and dumped between 4 – 6 meters of ash on the city.
Some of the walls and ceilings have been very well preserved; above is the intricate detail of the ceiling of the Sabian Baths. There was a cold water swimming pool and the actual baths contained a heating system.
These piles of bricks are part of a false floor which is part of the heating system.
It took a couple of hours for the guide to take us around the site which is huge. And very crowded with masses of tourists…
After a full (and hot) day we were driven from Pompeii to Bomerano, a village in Agerola, a small mountainous area of the Amalfi Coast.
This was my second visit to both Vesuvius and Pompeii… the previous time was during a long weekend in December 2008 when temperatures were much cooler! If you have an option to visit in the winter, this might be recommended both for walking to the crater of Vesuvius and from a crowd perspective. There was much less people in Pompeii in December!