Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Naples, Italy with visits to Pompeii and Sorrento

We both knew we wanted to see Pompeii this trip and I spent some time researching services.  A company called Limo Service Naples was quick to respond and since they are on my Facebook Page I was happy to hire them for the day.

Alex, one of the managers, was always quick to respond to my emails.  We requested a driver to take us to Pompeii and Sorrento for four people.  Price was 260E but price was discounted to 225E and free entry into Pompeii for me because of my writing about them.  Now I have never in the past received or seeked out a discounted or free tour because of my blog, but recently many have offered and this time I decided to take advantage of it.  The van would be private, with wifi in the van, and cold water on board provided. I was very much looking forward to this tour.  

Alex stressed the importance of getting off the ship as soon as possible and therefore beat the traffic.  He stated 7:45 but said 7:30 would be even better.  I told him we would be there at 7:30 and we were off the ship as soon as we got clearance around 7:10.
inside port building with tourist info.

Where you meet private guides

To meet the private guides you need to walk out of the terminal building.  First parking lot is for Ship’s tours.  Keep walking thru the gate to a roundabout parking lot where you will find guides holding signs. 

first area to the left is where ship's tours are.  pass by the statue, and thru the gate to where you meet taxis or private guides 

For those wanting to walk directly into town just keep walking straight and you will be in town very quickly.

7:30 comes and goes and there is no one.  Finally our driver Antonio arrives around 7:45, guess we didn’t have to rush to get off.

The van is very nice and comfortable.  Although anyone sitting in the back will not hear a thing and unfortunately Bernie did not hear a thing, but he was okay with that. Even Roy and Sandra in the second seat had trouble hearing.  I was in the front seat so I could hear things and also was able to take notes for my lectures.

Antonio explains to us all about Mount Vesuvius and about its devastating eruption in 79AD. Because of this eruption both Pompeii and Herculaneum were buried beneath a rain of ash and cinder.  

He provides some information about the city of Naples and the surrounding areas.  But he dislikes all towns except his own.  When I tell him we have been to Salerno he says this town’s people are stupid and says why.  He then insults the Northern Italians.  

As we drive he complains about women drivers!  Gee do I dare tell him I am a woman!  Do I dare tell him I am a professional driver?   He later complains about the French and how they don’t know where they are going and cause problems on the roads!  Gee do I dare tell him I am half French?  But I am a quarter English and a quarter German from my Dad’s side.  But no worries later in the day he complains about a tour bus that is German and complains about German drivers too.  He seemed to complain and insult every race and hates the current pope, calling him a communist.  Oh and don’t get him started on his comments about refugees.  By this time I am totally tuning him out and am not impressed.  

Sure you can have your opinions, but when you are dealing with tourists on a tour keep your views to yourself and even maybe show some intelligence not to insult us – and clearly there were two women on the tour so insulting us and our driving could be an issue.

He stops at a beautiful lookout where we can take pictures of Sorrento down below.  Here I apologize to Roy and Sandra about the guide and they are so kind they say no worries.  Thankfully Roy comments about the wi-fi and he hooks it up for us – while he drives!  Pulling cables and hooking it up while maneuvering in and out of traffic.  Scared the crap out of me.  Not to mention how often he was on his phone.  I don’t care if you are allowed to talk and drive here it certainly affected his ability to drive safely and many times he would sway into other lanes – but thankfully no accident happened. 

We were dropped off in the heart of Sorrento and given some time to explore on our own.  Roy and Sandra head off toward the beach – which they said was quite easy to get to but was not very nice.  But there are some nice ones here, just not this one.


Bernie and I stop and get a cappuccino and a pastry that they are famous for here called sfogliatella which is a multi layered confection filled with flavored ricotta and dusted with powdered sugar.  Yummy but rich.

We then start exploring the narrow streets with stores, bars, and restaurants all around us.  Of course Limochello  which is made here.  We pick up a small bottle of the Limochello cream from a small shop that is making it in small quantities in the back and some lemon soap.  

Antonio arrives at our meeting spot right on time and a short drive away he takes us to a Limochello factory (which we agreed to visit) where we see where and how it is made.  The shop is large selling not only everything made with lemon but leather goods, sandals, clothing, soaps, you name it.  But ironically the Limochello cream is way more expensive here as well as the soap.  So buy it in town.

Back on the road we are now driving back towards Naples on our way to Pompeii.  Antonio asks us if we need a guide, when I ask how much a guide is, he says 120E!  Wow that is more than my take home pay for one day’s work!  So no!  

queues when we arrive

queue when we leave two hours later

He then goes on to say since we don’t already have entrance tickets it could be a long line for tickets – an hour!  But if we have a guide there will be no wait.  Okay I am now official done with this guy! 

When he takes us to the ticket window he says “oh you are good the line is short”.  And he leaves us and we arrange to meet back up in just under two hours at this gate.  The line takes less than 5 minutes and cost 13E each and they take credit card.  We pay for two tickets – guess my free ticket is not included.  

Get a map from the information booth.  We have downloaded Rick Steeve’s App and the tour of Pompeii prior and we use that as our guide.  Note it is helpful to have his guide book too as it provides similar information and a map that is easy to reference when you are trying to figure out where the next stop is.

Pompeii was frozen in time and is now a Unesco World Heritage Site and today you can tour both sites but we are only visiting Pompeii today.  

note the whole site is very difficult for anyone in a wheelchair

you can take the train to the site as well - this is where you would get off and it is quite close to the site. 
Next time this is how we will visit.

After our two hours we are tired and it is hot and we are frustrated with this driver and we agree it is time to head back to the ship.  

Oh and we had to buy our own water as it was never offered to us by Antonio.  I also questioned him about the free entrance ticket to Pompeii for me and he said oh yes.  Bernie and I agree we will just deduct the 13E from our portion of the tour.

We are back at the ship by 1500 and we pay him, minus the 13E with a small tip.  When he counts it he says 5E more and I correct him as we gave him 230E and then the 13 E – so the nerve of him to ask for 5E more when the price was 225E to begin with (which he confirmed), then he got 18E tip which really was way more than he deserved.

Sadly I can not recommend Limo Service Naples.  I really wanted to like them, but after the day we had with this driver I can not.  

Although we really did enjoy Sorrento and also Pompeii, just not the driver or his commentary (keep your views to yourself) and how poorly he drove.  

Next time we will hire a different company (there are many out there) or take the train to either place which is quite easy to do too.  Or take the ship's transport.


  1. We've use them before and have had wonderful tour guides. So sorry you experienced this from them. Kind of scary! We are using them again on our trip so hopefully we can ask for someone other than Antonio! Thanks for the heads up! Continue having fun!

  2. Ha ha all so true be we did enjoy the company and the places we visited