I’m not doing a post on each of these because unlike Pompeii, they are quite small and easily done in a day together.
In fact, I did all and Sorrento in a day. All being: Ercolano, Oplontis or Villa Poppaea, and Villa Arianna.
You take the Circumvesuviana train to everything.
Ercolano (Herculeam in English) is close to Naples. And that and Oplontis are before the Pompeii stop. Villa Arianna is after.
Both Ercolano and Oplantis have signs when you leave the station/they are both close to the station. Villa Arianna is a bit more difficult to find. I’ll talk about that later.
Ercolano is more preserved than Pompeii in terms of organic material. Lots of wood left and they say clothes and plants. It’s close to the volcano and in fact if you are interested in climbing it, this is the stop you get off of too. But the proximity to the volcano means that Ercolano got hit with different substances and therefore it reacted differently.
There are no human shells like Pompeii, but bones that apparently the bodies exploded- they have casts of these skeletons on site (originals are in the Archeological museum) where they died. It was a surprise for me and as I turned the corner and they were all there, I did jump a bit- I wasn’t expecting it.
I managed to get on the 8.41/45 train again and got to Ercolano shortly after.
Ercolano is a small site and it took me an hour and half to go through it at a leisurely pace. It is also a lot less crowdy.
I would recommend getting another free audio guide or se booklet as the map they give you isn’t quite informative as in Pompeii. I couldn’t find any however.
I then ventured back to the train and went to Oplontis. This is just a big villa or mansion and therefore smaller than the other 2, it took me an hour only because the rooms were so beautiful that I stood in each for a while.
They were restoring some of the rooms, one can’t be seen at all, but 2 can be seen through different doors. The last room was roped off (but the whole room was visible. However, the restorers were talking and they saw me and let me cross the rope and enter the room. I barely moved inside the room and felt weird. But it was nice.
From here, I got on the train expecting to go all the way to Sorrento. At one of the stops, there was a pause and I looked at the platform and it said another ruin that was part of my ticket. I jumped off the train, I think to the guy sitting next to me’s surprise.
Luckily data works throughout the EU (if you have an EU sim card) and so I found directions as this had no signs. I made my way up a one way road hill. Villa Arianna is another mansion, but I couldn’t understand if it was some sort of resort for the Romans or a mansion like Oplontis.
It was equally beautiful and big. Villa San Marcos was close by; however, I needed to go onto a very busy road with no sidewalks.
I decided not to take the risk and went to the nearest train station (Via Nocera), which wasn’t the one I got off. But honestly, the Villa is about halfway between the two, but I think this stop is the recommended one.
Finally I was on my way to Sorrento. My suggestion would be to screenshot the train times so you can time it and not sit at a station for an hour.
Sorrento was quite lovely. It’s small and more of a destination for local Naples folk. It has cute streets and some decent views of the gulf.
I thought I had more pictures from Sorrento on my phone, but alas they must be on my camera and I’m blogging through my phone with no computer :/
I wouldn’t recommend this as a whole day trip or if you don’t have that much time; however I’m glad I went. It appears lemoncello is a big thing here as they had many shops. So I finally had gelato- lemoncello of course! With a scoop of cinnamon. It was great!
If you have the time to dedicate to Naples and area, I highly recommend the Artecard. I basically didn’t pat anything from Monday through Wednesday (I was at these places on Tuesday, Pompeii Monday, and Paestum Wednesday).