At the bustling centre of the Adriatic Coast lies Rimini. The perfect destination for those travelling Italy by train, this city is rich in architectural marvels and historic sights. The capital city of the synonymous province and an incredibly popular tourist destination in northern Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, Rimini combines beautiful beaches, balmy weather and breath-taking scenery for a one-of-a-kind getaway. Rimini railway station is well served by regional and national train services. Trenitalia provides many of the connecting routes serving this station, with the train to Rimini from Rome taking approximately 3h10mins, including transfers at Bologna Centrale station.
Pompeii is such a convenient trip by train it’s hard to consider doing it any other way. Both the seasonal high-speed Campania Express and the local train service calls at the tiny station of Pompeii S. Villa Misteri from where it is a five minute stroll to the entrance to the ruins. But to get the full story, start your trip a few stops back towards Naples and alight at the station of Ercolano Scavi.
A bus tour will take you from the square up to the summit of Vesuvius. From the car park, it’s a steep climb taking around 20 minutes to the crater rim, where you’ll see this active volcano smoking. It’s a grim reminder that the residents of the Bay of Naples laid out below live every day in danger, though the last major eruption of Vesuvius was back in 1944. Smell the sulphur and check out the huge lava bombs ejected by the volcano before returning to the town.
It’s about a fifteen minute walk to the compact ruins of ancient Herculaneum. Overshadowed by the more extensive ruins at Pompeii, this is a much easier site to explore and often has fewer crowds. It’s a good idea to visit at the end of the day in summer as the sun is fierce. Buy your Pompeii ticket here and you can bypass the crowds the following day.
Pompeii, devastated by the AD 79 eruption of Vesuvius, has been excavated and offers the opportunity to learn a little about the everyday lives of its Roman residents. Tour guides are knowledgeable, but wandering alone with the excellent free map enables you to escape the crowds and take an alternative route. Unmissable stops, whether on a tour or not, include the Forum, over to the left as you enter from Porta Marina; look for the casts of the people and dogs killed by the deadly ash and pyroclastic flows that tumbled down the steep slopes of Vesuvius allowing them no time to escape.
There are many villas and open-air theatres to explore. Even the roads with their stepping stone crossings and worn cart ruts are a sight in their own right. But the most memorable and popular part of the entire complex has to be the Lupanare, for this used to be a brothel There’ll be a queue, whatever time you go, but it’s worth it to see the stone slab beds and the interesting if explicit artwork adorning its walls. You just might want to warn your mother first!
A regular and cheap stopping train serves both Ercolano Scavi and Pompeii S. Villa Misteri station though it can be overcrowded. You may prefer to take the less frequent and more expensive Campania Express train which runs through the summer. A three-day pass costing 20 Euros covering five ruins in the area including Pompeii and Herculaneum can be purchased at either site. The easiest and quickest way to get to the summit of Vesuvius is to take the Vesuvio Express bus from the square immediately outside Ercolano Scavi station; the 20 Euro fare covers access to the summit of the volcano via a kilometre-long steep hike. It’s also possible to visit Vesuvius from Pompeii.