Active since ancient times, Mount Vesuvius has been sleeping since 1944. Who knows when it will erupt again? Here are some things to see and do in its shadow:
Pompeii and Herculaneum are both acessible from downtown Naples via the Circumvesuviana (stops "Pompei - Scavi" and "Ercolano" on the line to Sorrento); see the Transportation Page for details. You'll need a TIC NA-2 (Ercolano) or NA-3 (Pompei). Both archeological sites also are (relatively) easy to get to from the A3 highway from Naples towards Salerno. Vesuvius is accessible via busses from Ercolano, but it is usually cheaper/easier by car.
A large Roman city that was buried by ash in 79 A.D., Pompeii gives you an idea of the living conditions of Roman citizens at the height of the Empire. Note that many of the best treasures are now in the Archeological Museum in downtown Naples. Open every day except New Years, Christmas, and May 1st, Nov-Mar 8:30-5 and Apr-Oct 8:30-7:30 (last admission 1:30 before closing), €11, 081-857-5347. Consider the ArteCard, which covers admission.
Places to Eat Near Pompeii
- Vincanto - Via Nolana 89, enoteca (wine bar) rec'd by 2016 Slow Food
- In Scafati (just E of Pompei): Taverna Mascalzone - Corso Trieste 54, 081-850-8717, in centro storico, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia (including 2016) and Mangiarozzo, ~€20-25.
Smaller but better preserved than Pompeii, Herculaneum (Ercolano Scavi) was a resort for wealthy Romans before it was buried under tons of hot mud streaming down from Mount Vesuvius. Also see Stars & Stripes article. Same hours and entrance fee as Pompeii; also covered by the ArteCard. Entrance at 40°48.36'N 14°20.96'E.
Places to Eat Near Herculaneum
Also see Torre Del Greco places, further below under "Places to Eat Near Vesuvius"
- Casa Rossa 1888 Al Vesuvio - Via Vesuvio 42, Ercolano, beautiful view of Gulf of Naples, both seafood and meat specialties, ~€35, 081-777-9763, closed W, rec'd by Alice.
- Viva Lo Re - Corso Resina 261, Ercolano, near Herculaneum archeological site, on the Miglio d'Oro (Golden Mile) of 18th century villas, enoteca with good wine and good food, ~€30, 081-739-0207, closed Mon, Sun eve, Aug, rec'd by Carla Capalbo, Panorama, Gambero Rosso, 2015 Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, L'Espresso, Mangiarozzo, and TCI!
- Cagnano - Via Roma 17, Ercolano, Cadogan rec's this cheap place just up the hill from the Scavi, serving "huge bowlfuls of pasta" including spaghetti alle vongole.
- La Fornacella - Via IV Novembre 90, Ercolano touristy but "pretty good food" says Cadogan, including good value pollo alla cacciatora and pastas, 081-777-4861.
- Pizzeria la Bruna - Via Nazionale 678, Ercolano, pizzeria with private garden rec'd by Frommer's, 081-883-2431.
- Bar deglia Amorini - just across from the ruins, upstairs dining area has some snacks and pizza, rec'd by Cadogan.
- Le Stalle del Generale - Via Diaz 74, Portici, old 1700's palazzo with good food, €35 tasting menu, 081-486-393, dinner only, closed Mon, Tues.
- Vesuvioro - jams and preserves (via Cardano 30, 081-788-8556), Campania Felix - local foods (Via Cimarosa 4, 081-481-183), and Gelateria Gallo - gelato (Corso Garibaldi 34, 081-475-942), all in Portici, rec'd by Carla Capalbo.
- Italia Caffè e Pasticceria - Corso Italia 17, Ercolano, off Via IV Novembre, serves granite, coffee, and cakes, 081-732-1499, rec'd by Cadogan.
- Pizzeria Francesco e Salvatore Salvo - in San Giorgio a Cremano, just north of Ercolano/Portici, rec'd 2015 & 2016 Slow Food Osterie d'Italia
- Tallioo - food shop in San Giorgio a Cremano, just north of Ercolano/Portici, Via Roma 15/19, rec'd by 2016 Slow Food for rums, ricotta cassata, and tomato passata (and ketchup!) made from local San Marzano tomatoes
- Gelato: Antica Gelateria Gallo - Corso Giuseppe Garibaldi 34 in Portici, rec'd Positano News readers
Mount Vesuvius Park
You can drive nearly to the summit, hiking the last few hundred meters to see the beautiful view and the smoldering crater... The area is the National Park of Vesuvius, which is open every day from 9 until two hours before sunset (i.e. as early as 3 PM in the winter and as late as 6:30 PM in the summer). Take the A3 south from Napoli and exit Torre del Greco then follow the signs (which are, unusually for Naples, very frequent and helpful). Parking is €2.50, and adult entrance is €6.50 (as of May 2010). It is also possible to take a bus from Ercolano to the summit parking lot. See what the weather is like on various webcams. Wikitravel has a good page on visiting Vesuvius.
Places to Eat Near Vesuvius
- Il Veliero - Torre del Greco, rec'd 2015 Slow Food Osterie d'Italia
- Ristorante e Pizzeria Da Peppino Di G. Fornito - Via Cupa Cianfrone 1, Torre Del Greco, 081-881-3445. A local favorite; awesome pizzas by the meter.
- El Morisco - Via De Gasperi 127, Torre Del Greco, 081-847-3987, closed Tues, €30 tasting menu, local traditional foods, rec'd by Alice.
- Ristorante Pernice Salvatore - Via Ruggiero 45, Torre Del Greco, 081-883-2297, a bit more upscale but good seafood, 12-3, 7:30-11, rec'd by Frommer's.
- Chiarina A'Mmare - Via Calastro, Torre Del Greco, 081-881-2067, 12:30-3:30, 7:30-10:30, inexpensive seafood place popular with locals, rec'd by Frommer's.
- Gaetano a Mare - Via Litoranea 5, Torre Del Greco, 081-883-1558, 12-3, 7:30-11, closed Fri, good, popular seafood restaurant, good for kids, rec'd by Frommer's.
- La Locanda di Alfonso - via Passanti Flocco 344, Boscoreale, 081-859-3156, closed Sun eve, Tues lunch, Mon, rec'd by 2015 Slow Food Osterie d'Italia
- Palazzo Vialdo - Via Nazionale 981, Torre Del Greco, rec'd Slow Food 2016
- Tripperia del Corso - Corso Vittorio Emanuele III 424, Torre Annunziata, rec'd Slow Food 2016
- Gelato: Gelateria San Marco - via Alcide de Gasperi 7, rec'd Positano News readers
- Gelato: Gelizioso - in Sarno, named by Dissapore as one of the top gelaterie in Italy in 2017
Places to Eat North of Vesuvius
This area has a number of towns, some of which have good views and/or food.
- Cercola: Del Pino - Via Don Minzoni 225, 081-733-1145, open every day, good pizzas and other dishes, if you're very hungry you can try their pizza-lasagna mix, ~€35-40, rec'd by 2015 Slow Food Osterie d'Italia
- Pomigliano d’Arco: O’ Cupiello - Vico Sodano Vinella 11, 081-884-4707, closed Sun, dinner only, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia (but no longer in 2015)
- Ristorante ‘e Curti - Via padre Michele Abete 6, 081-897-2821, closed Sun eve, Mon, rec'd by 2015 Slow Food Osterie d'Italia
- Gelateria Arcogelo - rec'd TCI
- Somma Vesuviana
- La Lanterna - Via Colonnello Aliperta 8, 081-899-1843, rec'd by 2015 Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso
- Antica Trattoria Zoppicone - rec'd 2015 Slow Food Osterie d'Italia
- Gelateria Gelatopoli - rec'd TCI
- Frattamaggiore: Mirù Cantina Nova - rec'd by 2015 Slow Food Osterie d'Italia
- Ottaviano: Braceria Bifulco - rec'd by Gambero Rosso 2015 Foodies guide
Things to Do Near Vesuvius
- Vesuvius Horseback Riding Tour - guided tours on horseback, popular with Americans
Oplontis and Other Ruins
The Oplontis Roman ruins, found in Torre Annuziata on Via Sepolcri, are not as well known as Pompeii and Herculaneum, but are also interesting. Open same hours as Pompeii, €5.50. To the north, Boscoreale has a museum at Villa Regina. Villa dei Papiri is another less-known archeological site.
Castellammare di Stabia
Further south, this town has the ruins of Stabiae, the site where Pliny the Elder died just after the Vesuvius eruption, this seaside town has several Roman ruins and was also the birthplace of the Capone family (as in famous Italian-American gangster Al Capone).
- Villa Arianna - roman ruins known for frescos, 081 8575347, near Via Nocera Circumvesuviana
- Villa San Marco - roman ruins of a villa, including private baths, 081 8575347, near Via Nocera Circumvesuviana
- Villa del Pastore - roman ruins of what might have been a spa
- Grotta San Biagio - 081 8575347
- Cable Car to Monte Faito - Except in the winter, you can also take the Funvia (Cable Car) to Monte Faito, one of the tallest peaks in the Monti Lattari (the "Milky Mountains" that separate Sorrento from the Amalfi coast). More about Monte Faito (in Italian) here.
- O' Pignatiello - restaurant rec'd by Alice and Mangiarozzo, via de Gasperi 207, 081-871-5100, closed Sun eve, cuisine varies with what's fresh, €12 lunch with house wine, ~€20 a la carte, only open for lunch during summer, www.opignatiello.com
The "Mile of Gold" is a stretch of old palaces beginning, in the north, with the old Royal Palace of Portici. Since all the rich people wanted to be close to the king in the 18th-19th century, many of them built palaces here.