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Pompeii - self-guided tour or private guide?


DedeM

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I've heard great things about private guides there, but wondered if the self-guided tour is ok to do (to save money).

 

Is it a recording and does it explain each site you look at or is it just a guidebook?

 

Thank you :)

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The English audioguide with headphones is very good--it provides both a basic explanation of each site as well as more detailed ones for many of them if you want to know more. It is reasonably priced and was fine for us.

Les

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The English audioguide with headphones is very good--it provides both a basic explanation of each site as well as more detailed ones for many of them if you want to know more. It is reasonably priced and was fine for us.

 

Les

Go Phins! :D

 

Does it tell you where to go or do you follow a path? HOw does it work exactly? I would hate to wander around aimlessly. :o

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I agree the audio guides are a great alternative. I copied and pasted this from an opinion on Virtual Tourist.com.

 

Being one of the best archaeological sites, you should have expected that it would be expensive to tour this place. While not as bad as I thought it would be, it still came to 10 Euro for entrance. While a guidebook comes with it free, it hardly delves into the history of the place. That’s why I got the audio guide, and I think you should as well. While listening to the entire audio guide would probably take 10 hours, I preferred to walk around at my leisure, picking out places of interest to me on the map and going there. At every important site, there is a small number corresponding to the audio guide number and explanation. This way you do not feel like you are stuck in fixed tour, and if there is one of those damn tour groups at a site, then you can skip it and come back on your own time. .

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When we were at Pompei last May we had planned to just do the audio guide. While waiting in line to pay for the headphones we were approached by a tour guide wearing an official badge (tour guides have to be sanctioned by the governement) and he asked if we would like to join an English speaking tour group. I believe there were about 20 of us total. I don't remember the exact cost but it was right about the cost of the headphones, so we agreed to join. Glad we did! He gave us a wonderful tour of the sites with entertaining commentary throughout. His tour lasted about 1 1/2 hours. At the end of his tour he gave us an official self-tour booklet with all the sites numbered and including a good map, so DH and I spent another couple hours investigating more of the fascinating ruins. So, we did both!

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I agree - you have come a very long way to get here and there are tons of things to see here. Some obvious.....some not so obvious. A guide knows them all !

 

We also shared a private guide with 3 other couples. Pina (our guide) was amazing. Worth every penny !

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Where and how did you find Pina? Did you prebook your tour? Was your tour private, meaning just your group or was it with a large group? How long was the tour?

Thanks for your information.

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Most guides are very good, and some are outstanding! When we went to Herculaneum, we had a guide who had worked on the excavations as a young man. Now that he is older and his back isn't up to that anymore, he works as a guide. He had such a passion for the place and he really made it come alive. We had a guide at Pompeii who was nearly as good. He was a little boy during the eruption in the 40's, and he talked about cleaning up the ash everywhere, and how frightened his mother was.

 

Those are things you could never get from a recording!

 

Lisa

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I've heard great things about private guides there, but wondered if the self-guided tour is ok to do (to save money).

 

Is it a recording and does it explain each site you look at or is it just a guidebook?

 

Thank you :)

 

If you can afford it, pay for a guide. I did not. We had 2 hours (well, 1.45) and I found myself racing around with the audio guide and trying to find a few places I did not want to miss (I had been there over 20 years ago). None of the "numbers" in Rick Steves or others match up and I ran around for an hour and half, at one point asking someone elses tour guide about one site and finally finding out it was closed to the public for repairs. Pompeii was so much larger than I recalled.

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The English audioguide with headphones is very good--it provides both a basic explanation of each site as well as more detailed ones for many of them if you want to know more. It is reasonably priced and was fine for us.

 

Les

 

I think it would have been fine for me if I had longer than 1.5 hours (or spoke Italian). I spent too much time trying to find the House of Mysteries (I think that was the one I saw I te early 80's with all the painting) only to eventually find out it was closedto the public and that was why I could not find the entrance. I did find the House of the Tragic Poet though.

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Where and how did you find Pina? Did you prebook your tour? Was your tour private, meaning just your group or was it with a large group? How long was the tour?

Thanks for your information.

 

We docked in Naples and had pre-booked a driver with a nice new van for the 8 of us (4 couples) with APTours. We split this cost 4 ways. All was arranged thru our roll call.

 

He took us straight to Pompeii, where they had pre-arranged for her to meet us. The cost was 100 euros (we split this cost 4 ways) over and above the driver cost.

 

It was private. Only the 8 of us and her. When some other people began gathering and listening in she told them this was a private tour. Very politely. We did not need headphones as she was right there with us. She guided us thru the ruins and knew how the other "larger" groups moved and managed to move us seperately so we were not crowded or couldnt hear her. She answered tons of questions along with the endless information she gave us. She was very personable and made the lives of the people who lived here real and therefore added so much more to our experience of Pompeii. I cannot imagine trying to do this huge site without a guide :)

 

We were there about 2-1/2 hrs maybe a little more.

 

Our driver then spent the rest of the day driving us to Ravello, Amalfi, Positano and finally Sorrento, where we all had voted to spend another 9 euros each to take the ferry back to Naples. WONDERFUL DAY ! My favorite of the whole cruise I think.

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Go Phins! :D

 

Does it tell you where to go or do you follow a path? HOw does it work exactly? I would hate to wander around aimlessly. :o

The audioguide comes with a map that numbers each stop and you punch in that number for an explanation (and additional numbers for further details)--not too difficult. It's better than a human guide in that you can go at your own pace, see whatever you want and repeat things if necessary (and doesn't require a tip :D)--but it won't answer specific questions. It helps speed things along if you determine in advance from a guidebook which things you want to see most and then follow a logical circular path--note that Pompeii is much larger than you would think (I agree with Jade13) and it's a long walk from one end to the other.

 

An hour and a half in Pompeii would let you see the central forum and the major nearby sites. If you can spare the time, three to four hours would let you see most of it without rushing, with time for a quick granita, lunch or snack at the centrally located restaurant. If you are there in the summer, keep in mind that it can be REALLY hot, and rushing though anywhere in 90+ degrees is no fun.

 

Les

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