By Andrea Zachrich

The Pompeii Forum! That mountain is Mt. Vesuvius

This was definitely my favorite weekend of the trip. As part of the class, we got to take a bus to Pompeii, stay in a motel (with a pool), and visit the ancient site for a day and receive lectures. Having an opportunity like this is honestly so cool. Everything is planned out for you (all you have to do is hop on the bus). You don’t have to worry about tickets for the site or transportation or getting a tour guide or looking up information. Also, our professor encouraged the class to look into visiting one of the islands off the coast of the Bay of Naples after the field trip, so some of us went to Ischia, and it was amazingly beautiful.

Class Set Up

We left for the field trip on a Friday morning and then the site visit was on a Saturday. It takes about three hours to get from Rome to Pompeii by bus, so we got to the motel around lunch time. You get to pick your roommates in advance. The motel is pretty nice – nothing super special but it was clean, had AC, a pool, and breakfast, and the beds were comfortable. It’s also within walking distance to the entrance of Pompeii. You get to pick what you want to do that first day (I’ll talk about the options in a second), and then that evening we went to dinner as a class. Personally, I was not a fan of the food at the dinner, but it was nice to eat in all together in a big group. Then, we all went to bed fairly early because we were walking down to the site the next morning at 8 am.

Options for Day 1

So for that first day you’re there, you basically have three options.

1.Visit Herculaneum with the professor – I did not take this option (although normally this is something I would do) because my brother and I were planning on going here when he flew out in a couple weeks, and I didn’t want to visit it twice. Herculaneum is amazing though. It’s much better preserved than Pompeii because it’s excavations were carried out in a much better and more systematic way. It’s also much less crowded. My brother and I went on a Saturday and there were barely any people there. The site also gives you a very detailed and very useful information booklet, but if you go with the professor you (obviously) wouldn’t have to worry about that. Getting here from Pompeii or Naples is pretty easy. You have to take what we named the “World’s Hottest Train” and I think it’s about a euro or a euro fifty each way. We named it the “World’s Hottest Train” because it was incredibly crowded and there was no AC and that made it blazing hot. Be prepared to break a sweat. Below are a bunch of pictures of my visit to Herculaneum with my brother.

  1. Take a bus to the top of Mount Vesuvius – This is another really cool option that you have for that first day. I didn’t do it with the class because I knew I would be back, but it’s awesome. Basically, you pay 20 euro (10 euro for the bus ride and 10 for the Mt. Vesuvius park ticket) and a bus company with take you up the mountain and deposit you fairly close to the top. There’s great views and you can even look into the crater of the volcano. Mt. Vesuvius is still an active volcano and it was smoking when I went.