Pompeii is, without a doubt, one of the great historical & archaeological sites the world has to offer. Being famous in the travel world means being popular — Pompeii is an extremely busy place to visit with more than 2.5 million people visiting each year. We focus on some off the beaten path sites near Pompeii, some equally fascinating ancient sites in Italy, without the crowds.
What to do near Naples? Check out Rione Terra — a series of ruins of an ancient city dating back to 215 BC. In Rione Terra, you walk along ancient streets, some that were fully preserved underground, and see life as it was lived in ancient times. The city has been built over many times and large sections were only recently discovered after some seismic events affected the areas in the 1970s. Wander the ancient city without massive amounts of crowds around you at every point.
While there are plenty of things to do in Naples Italy, sometimes getting out of the city itself can lead to remarkable adventures. The Villa Oplontis is an ancient seaside villa not far out of Naples proper. The grandiose villa is believed to have been owned by Emperor Nero and the architectural model that much of the more modest homes in Pompeii were based on. The villa has been shown to have originally had immense gardens filled with olive, apple, lemon, and oleander trees… and a massive swimming pool. Truly fit for an emperor.
Looking for a day trip near Pompeii? Stop by the Terme Stabiae, or the Stabian Baths. This massive bathing complex is an excellent example of an ancient bath culture. Tour the cold baths, hot baths, and the heavily decorated changing rooms. An excellent example of the impressive engineering feats of the ancient world.
If the now-dry baths aren’t wet enough for you — why not visit an underwater city? Once a bustling summer resort destination during the Roman Empire, the once-wealthy city of Baia managed to escape harm from the eruption of Mount Pompeii. However not long after the city sunk from rising sea levels. Visit the amazing underwater ruins by means of a glass-bottomed boat, or for the more adventurous — a scuba adventure. Baia Sommersa is a hidden treasure among Italian archaeological sites.
Cuma Archeological Park
Do you believe in magic? Other sites near Pompeii certainly do. Cuma was the home to the most powerful of the Sybils, revered female oracles of the ancient world. The holiest was located here and considered to be a guardian of the underworld. If you’re in search of some modern mysteries you can still visit the Sybil’s cave which connects to Lake Avernus through an interesting series of tunnels. Here you can also visit the remains of the Temple of Apollo and the Temple of Jupiter.
Once you start to look beyond Pompeii, you’ll begin to discover remarkable archaeological sites throughout Italy. With a little research and a well-planned itinerary, you can enjoy a unique Italian adventure far away from the crowded, big tourist sites.