A stark reminder of the malign forces that lie deep inside Vesuvius, Pompeii (Pompei in Italian) is Europe’s most compelling archaeological site and one of Italy’s most visited tourist attractions. Each year about 2.5 million people pour in to wander the ghostly shell of what was once a thriving commercial centre.
Its appeal goes beyond tourism, though. From an archaeological point of view, it’s priceless. Much of the value lies in the fact that it wasn’t simply blown away by Vesuvius: rather it was buried under a layer of lapilli (burning pumice stone), as Pliny the Younger describes in his celebrated account of the eruption.
About 1km down the road in modern Pompeii, the Santuario della Madonna del Rosario is a famous pilgrim destination.
Italy's top attractions: taking the 'trap' out of tourist trap
Across the globe, lucky souls are packing for Italy to explore the famed marvels of ancient Rome, find romance along Venice's teal-blue canals – and well-meaning friends are still trying to talk them out of it. 'You're going where? When? But it's a tourist trap!' they gasp.
Pompeii destination guides
Awe-inspiring ancient sites
Taken from Lonely Planet's 1000 Ultimate Experiences, may we present a bevy of BC (or thereabouts) beauties that have stood the test of time without losing any of their ability to drop your jaw.
Pompeii Day Trip from Rome
Hike up Mount Vesuvius and then explore the UNESCO-listed ruins of Pompeii on a must-do day trip from Rome! Going at a steady pace, the hike includes a walk on the ridge of Italy’s famously feisty volcano, allowing incredible views down into the crater itself. After a pizza lunch in Naples, head to Pompeii to see the havoc that Mount Vesuvius reaped on it in AD 79.
Naples and Pompeii Day Trip from Rome
Combine a trip to Naples with a tour of Pompeii’s ruins on a full-day excursion from Rome! From the comfort of your coach, see the sights of Naples, admiring the Royal Palace, Castel dell’Ovo, Piazza del Plebiscito and more. Hear tales of Bourbon kings who once ruled the city, and then travel inland to visit Pompeii.
Explosive Italy: a volcano-lover's guide
Italy famously teems with World Heritage sites, but it’s less well known that those sites sit in Europe’s most volcanically active region. In fact, Italy is home to mainland Europe’s only active volcanoes: Vesuvius, Stromboli and Etna. Etna Etna is Europe’s largest volcano (at 3323m) and one of the world’s most active.