Pompeii for the Day

By Elizabeth Brown-Kaiser (ISI Florence)

After running around Budapest, Vienna, and Salzburg in a mere 80 hours last weekend, a calmer trip was more appealing for this weekend. I decided to do the deemed “impossible” task (by pessimistic travel bloggers) and complete a full day trip from Florence to Pompeii.

At 7:33 am sharp my roommate and I hopped on the fast train from Santa Maria Novella to Napoli Centrale. The ride took approximately three hours and allowed my roommate and I to recharge before our long adventure. At Napoli Centrale, a simple escalator ride downstairs brought us to the Circumvesuviana line, which drops riders off outside the doors of the famous Pompeii ruins for only 2,70 euro each way. Be sure to keep your eyes open while travelling—the place was crawling with pickpockets!

After approximately 30 minutes, we hopped off the train at Pompei Scavi just before Sorrento, bought our tickets to see the ruins for 11,00 euro, and were off.

One could spend hours, perhaps even days, wandering through the streets and buildings of the preserved city. The must-sees included the main forum, the Temple of Apollo, the brothel, and the baths. The cafe near the baths also provided a great rest stop for a quick espresso shot before continuing our journey through buried Pompeii.

After 4 hours, we purchased our return tickets at the tabaccheria nearby and headed back to Naples. Just a few steps from the train station in Piazza Garibaldi, we indulged in a napoleon classic, sfogliatella. For those who do not know, sfogliatella is a delicious pastry that looks like a croissant but is shaped like a seashell and filled with flavored cream. My roommate and I succumbed to our tourist senses and placed our faith in TripAdvisor. For 2,00 euro we munched on sfogliatella con un cuore di cafe (with coffee filling) at Cuori Di Sfogliatella. We then proceeded to eat dinner following our dessert appetizer, and headed to a local restaurant called Da Pasqualino.

Da Pasqualino was the perfect way to end a long day in southern Italy. Without a lick of English spoken and three generations of family members working together to serve their customers, we experienced a truly authentic Italian meal. We ordered their specialty, pizza fritta (fried pizza), along with several other dishes and a bottle of local wine for a total of about 10,00 euro per person. With full stomachs and wide smiles, we hopped back on the train to Santa Maria Novella at 7:20 pm and were back in our Florentine apartment before 11:00 pm.

For those who doubt their ability to explore outside of Tuscany, it is surprisingly manageable and is an amazingly unique experience. I strongly recommend Pompeii for the day to all students in Florence this semester.

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