While volcano sleeps: Naples and Pompeii

While volcano sleeps: Naples and Pompeii

Italy is an amazing destination no matter which part you decide to explore.

Rome, Milano, Naples, Pompeii, Sicily, the list goes on and on! However, don’t get too relaxed, it does get more dangerous and more complicated the more south you go, especially when you are a backpacking in Italy.

Here are a few tips for your Naples and the legendary Pompeii adventure.

Season matters a great deal.

Not only due to unbearable heats and a bit too slow life rhythm in the summer, but also due to the crazy wave of tourists. My advice, find another destination for the summer.

Mind the traffic

Once in Naples, watch out for the traffic, it is chaotic so keep an eye on locals. They know which red lights to obey and which to ignore. You might be surprised to see that the majority of cars are not only really small, but also scratched and bumped all over. I see it as an illustration of the driving culture in the area.

Careful with thieves

Another thing you should watch out are the pick-pockets. There are plenty of those and you should be extremely careful in the areas where counterfeited bags, watches etc. are being sold. Backpacking in Italy is relatively safe with pick-pockets being the main danger to foreigners (I guess locals watch out too).

Beware of Vesuvius

A whole new level of danger is presented by the infamous volcano Vesuvius. There are several mountains around Naples and if you want to recognize which one is Vesuvius is, simply look for the one that has many houses built on it’s slope. These are illegal constructions and yes people live there – Russian roulette life style I’d say.

Some half million people live within 10 km radius of the crater. From what I grasped, nobody knows when Vesuvius is going to erupt so it is being monitored closely and the evacuation plans are ready, so you should be fine.

Pompeii is probably the strongest example of how powerful and deadly this Volcano can get. It takes a trip there to understand how big and prosperous of city it was and how deep it was buried by Vesuvius.

Naples to Pompeii is easy

You can jump on a train from Naples, 30 minutes trip will costs you about 5 euros both ways. Once in Pompei you can walk towards the archeological site (it’s about 1.5 km – 2 km), simply take left once you exit the train station and keep going straight.
Shuttle busses are available at the station. Their drivers will try to convince you that it is too far to walk. I personally enjoyed the 30 minutes walk and found a big Carrefour grocery store on the way. In any case, wear proper shoes, Pompeii trip includes lots of walking.

What you can do is stop there and get your self some delicious pita bread, ham, cheese, veggies, fruit and water (bring plenty of that, Pompeii is big and it does get really hot in the day time!). Once you enter the archeological site of Pompeii, you can make your way in the direction of Vesuvius – there is a wide street going all the way straight. At the end of it you will find a small hill with a big Pine tree on top. Shadow and the panoramic view of Pompei do make a great spot for some cheap lunch. After-all, you are backpacking in Italy!

Have a quick look around the legendary Pompeii here!

It’s south after-all

While for the rest of your trip, do not over-plan. When backpacking in Italy sticking to your tight schedule might be tricky. So better skip making one in the first place. Italy is chaotic, quite messy and unpredictable, south always is. Also many people don’t speak English. It is easy to loose the sense of direction as the old city is a crazy maze, even with proper navigation sights are not easy to find. Pay attention to how things are called in Italian and be prepared for delays. I personally spent 15 minutes simply looking for where to buy metro tickets and only after I asked a women “metro, biglietto?!” (a word that I learned from a ticket machine for trains) she pointed me into a shop which sold them.

It all comes down to great food

And finally, Italy is absolutely delicious. It comes without saying that Naples is the place for pizza Margaretha and make sure to feast on sea food and buffalo mozzarella. Even if service is often rather rude, food compensates for it plenty!

Backpacking Europe?

Have a look at other destinations we have covered in Europe!