Naples Guide for Tourist
DAYTRIPS FROM NAPLES
Mount Vesuvius, the only active volcano on the European continent, looms over the area east of Naples. Its infamous eruption in AD 79 buried the nearby Roman city of Ercolano (Herculaneum) and neighboring Pompeii.
POMPEII. Since 1748, excavations have unearthed a stunningly well-preserved picture of Roman daily Me. The site hasn’t changed much since then, and neither have the victims, whose ghastly remains were partially preserved by plaster casts in the hardened ash. Walk down V.d. Marina to reach the colonnaded ISForum, which was once the civic and religious center of the city. Exit the Forum through the upper end by the cafeteria, and head right on V. della Fortuna to reach the llHouse of the Faun, where a bronze dancing faun and the spectacular Alexander Mosaic (today in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale) were found. Continue on V. della Fortuna and turn left on V. dei Vettto reach the House of the Vettii, on the left, and the most vivid frescoes in Pompeii. Back down V. dei Vettii, cross V. della Fortuna to V. Storto, turn left on V. degli Augustali, and take a quick right to reach a small brothel (the Lupenar), still popular after 2000 years. V. dei Teatri, across the street, leads to the oldest standing amphitheater in the world (80 BC), which once held up to 12,000 spectators. To get to the ilVilla of the Mysteries, the complex’s best-preserved villa, head west on V. della Fortuna, right on V. Con-solare, and all the way up Porta Ercolano. (Archaeological site open daily 8:30am-7:30pm. ‚10.) Take the Circumvesuviana train (081 772 24 44) from Naples’s Stazione Centrale to Pompe(dir.: Sorrento; 2 per hr. ‚2.20). To reach the site, head downhill and take your first left to the west (Porta Marina) entrance. To reach the tourist office, V. Sacra 1, walk right from the station and continue to the bottom of the hill. (Open M-F 8am-3:30pm, Sa 8am-2pm.) The on-site cafeteria is expensive, so bring lunch.
HERCULANEUM. Herculaneum is 500m downhill from the Ercolano stop on the Circumvesuviana train from Naples (dir.: Sorrento; 20min. ‚1.90). Stop at the tourist office, V. IV Novembre 84 (081 88 12 43), to pick up a free map. The city is less excavated than Pompebecause it was buried much deeper and a modem city sits on top; highlights include the House of Deer. (Open daily 8:30am-7:30pm. ‚10.)
MOUNT VESUVIUS. You can peer into the only active volcano on mainland Europe at Mt. Vesuvius. Trasporti Vesuviani buses (buy ticket on board; round-trip ‚3.10) run from the Ercolano Circumvesuviana station to the crater. Although Vesuvius hasn’t erupted since March 31, 1944 (and scientists say volcanoes should erupt every 30 years), experts deem the trip safe.
CASERTA. Few palaces, no matter how opulent, can hold a candle to Caserta’s glorious EiReggia often referred to as The Versailles of Naples. A world apart from the brutality of Pompeii, the palace and grounds resonate with a passion for art and beauty.
When Bourbon King Charles III commissioned the palace in 1751, he intended it to rival Louis XIV’s famously spectacular abode. Completed in 1775, the