Fantastic trip and the highlight of our 1 week in Rome.
Pick-Up at Piazza del Popolo was very well organized and tour representatives (from DarkRome) were easily identified. Her name was Anna and she was absolutely great and knowledgable. Bus was not at Piazza del Popolo but a 5 minute walk.
Bus was a mini-coach bus. Very very clean and new and comfortable. After 1 1/2 hour there is a bus stop break at Monte Cassino (you can see the Cassino Abbey in the distance on top of a hill). Coffee (capucino), croissants could be purchased (both 2 euro each, cash only). They also have souvenirs but VERY expensive.
Next stop (1 1/2 hours) was Naples National Archelogical Museum (winter so could not go to Vesuvius). The museum was ok, they had the Farnese statues, the secret rooms (explit fresco's taken from Pompei's "red light" district), household items and mosaics from Pompei, but I liked the most the scale model of Pompei. We had a bit over an hour in the museum and that was just enough time.
Then to Pompei and had lunch at a Pompei Restaurant serving two types of pizza (they take your order on the bus and phone it in so minimum waiting time). You could choose between Pizza Bianca (cheese and proscioto) or Pizza Margherita (cheese, tomato sauce (mmmm) and basil). I had the Bianca and hubby the other one and I have to say Margherita is way better (general concensus of our tour group). There is a side salad and 1 free drink (pop, beer or wine). If you want another drink it is 3 euro.
Note that the tour is english only. We had Dutch, German, Mexican, French, USA and Canadian (us). However the tour guides will only speak english.The restaurant you will sit with fellow tour participants at a table for 4.
Then to Pompei where another, local, guide provided commentary (we had Enrico and he was great and very clear to understand (you also have little walkman's so it is easy to listen to the commentary). Tour was very good (2 hrs) and comprehensive but Pompei is VERY large and spreadout and you will only see a portion of it. Note that 1/3 is not excavated and they leave it preserved.
Around 4 pm you return to the bus and back to Rome, with same bus stop at Monte Cassino as in the morning. Bus arrived back at Piazza del Popolo (Flaminio metro) at 7:30 pm, perfectly on time.
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