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GoWithGuideFind your perfect tour guide at GoWithGuide. Relax and cherish unforgettable tours with loved ones. Create personalized tours for a truly memorable trip!

5 Hidden Gems to Visit in Pompeii


by GoWithGuide travel specialist:Pia V.

Last updated : Nov 10, 20227 min read

Things To Do

The archaeological ruins of Pompeii are among the most visited attractions in Italy, welcoming millions of visitors every year. A guided Pompeii tour with an archaeologist is sure to introduce you to all the main attractions inside the ancient city. Seeing how popular the ruins are, particularly during the summer months, you might be wondering if there are any hidden gems left to explore in the area. 

The simple answer is yes, there most certainly are! This guide will introduce you to the best hidden gems awaiting you in the area surrounding Pompeii. Don't hesitate to contact our hand-selected local guides to arrange an immersive tour of these hidden attractions.


blog imageWhile everyone who is headed to this region of Italy has heard of Pompeii, surprisingly few are aware of its close neighbor, Herculaneum. Located about a 20 minute drive from the Pompeii ruins, Herculaneum was also once a thriving Roman city. Like its more famous counterpart, it was also buried under a thick layer of ash during the 79 CE eruption of Vesuvius. Considering how famous Pompeii has since become, it might come as a surprise that Herculaneum was actually the first Roman city buried by Vesuvius to be discovered. Herculaneum was discovered in 1709, followed by Pompeii in 1748.

So what makes Herculaneum worth visiting? For a start, the city has been remarkably well preserved. In fact, Herculaneum is arguably even better preserved than Pompeii. The ash that covered the city carbonized several organic objects, including those made from wood and papyrus. The ash even preserved some food items! What's more, Herculaneum offers a more intimate look at life in ancient Rome, whereas Pompeii is a testament to a more lavish lifestyle. The fact that Herculaneum’s remains are far less crowded than those of Pompeii is simply the icing on the cake. 


blog imageMiguel Hermoso Cuesta, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

While the Archaeological Park of Pompeii is home to several famous villas displaying the extravagant lifestyle of the Romans, far fewer people are familiar with the villas of Oplontis. This ancient Roman city turned archaeological site is located less than five kilometers from Pompeii. It is home to two Roman villas which were preserved under volcanic ash for centuries until being rediscovered at the end of the 1500s. Remarkably, a proper excavation of the villas were not initiated until the 1960s. Compared to Pompeii, the two Oplontis villas were more impacted by the volcanic eruption, with walls, columns, and roofs having collapsed as a result.

The villas of Oplontis are simply known as Villa A and Villa B. Of the two, Villa A is the more famous one and is often referred to as Villa Poppaea. The oldest parts of the villa are thought to date all the way back to 50 BCE. This was a lavishly decorated villa that is thought to have still been under construction during Vesuvius's fateful eruption, as several tools have been discovered on the premises. Villa B is more modest in comparison and unlike its counterpart, this house was occupied during the eruption, with 54 human remains having been discovered on site. 


blog imageAlMare, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Stabiae was once a seaside Roman settlement housing beautifully designed villas. Located about five kilometers from Pompeii, Stabiae has become an important archaeological site, though it still remains under most travelers' radar. The villas of Stabiae are most notable for their impressive artistic and architectural features. Several artifacts discovered in the villas have since been transported to the National Archaeological Museum of Naples, which is also a great addition to any Pompeii itinerary.

Many villas have been discovered among the ruins of Stabiae. Two of them are open to visitors. Villa San Marco is one of the largest houses to have been discovered in the area. This impressive structure covers some 11,000 square meters and was extravagantly decorated with mosaic floors and frescoes, including some impressive work adorning the villa's baths. Besides Villa San Marco, you can also visit Villa Arianna which features some of the most impressive Roman frescoes found anywhere in the area.

Archaeological Park of Pausilypon

blog imageSalvatore Capuano, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Archaeological Park of Pausilypon is a fascinating historical site set in a stunning location. It is located on a dramatic headland overlooking the Gulf of Naples on the outer edge of Naples. The entrance to the site alone is impressive. Visitors arrive through the Grotta di Seiano, a near 800-meter-long tunnel built by the ancient Romans. Interestingly, the tunnels were used as air raid shelters during World War II, before being made into the official access point to the archeological park in 2009.

Once you exit the tunnel, you will encounter the well-preserved ruins of an ancient Roman villa called Pausilypon. This Greek word loosely translates as "what makes pain disappear" and can be considered a testament to the building's stunning surroundings. The archaeological park also features an amphitheater which can seat 2,000 people. Being a more obscure site to visit (and more challenging to get to), we definitely recommend visiting Pausilypon with a private guide.

Bourbon Tunnel

blog imageAssociazione Culturale Borbonica Sotterranea, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Bourbon Tunnel goes under most travelers' radar - literally. This is a historic underground tunnel system built beneath the streets of Naples. The tunnels were originally built in the 1800s during the rule of King Ferdinand II of Bourbon. At the time, the crown was wary of a revolution and decided to build secret passageways to escape from the Royal Palace of Naples in case of an uprising. Later on during World War II, the same tunnels were used to protects citizens from bombings.

After the war, the Bourbon Tunnel was used to store eclectic objects and debris, with old cars and obscure war time paraphernalia still scattered throughout the passageways. Today, the tunnels are open to the public. Guided tours are the best way to get the full effect and understand the historic importance of these imposing structures buried deep underground. 


The ruins of Pompeii are among the most important archaeological sites in the world. It's little wonder then that so many people dream of visiting this fabled location. If you are looking for a more under-the-radar setting, there are luckily some hidden gems waiting to be discovered in the area as well. 

The easiest way to make the most of your trip to Pompeii is to tour the area with a private guide. A private tour allows you to explore the area to the fullest without having to waste any time worrying about schedules or logistics. Connect with our guides today to start planning your trip!

Campania Tour Guide - Roberta A.

Roberta A.

5.00 / 5
(1 reviews)

I've been a tour guide for 8 years, I graduated at the University of Naples Federico II in Archaeology and History of Art in 2015, then I passed the exam to get the licence as a guide, I love my region and my job !                                                                                                                                 

Naples Tour Guide - Barbara D.

Barbara D.


Hello, My name is Barbara. I am a licensed tour guide and I have been working as tour guide since 2005. I live in a wonderful area, famous for natural beauty, history art and archeology. A unique place that offer so many options to the tourist who choose to visit it. I have a education background in Art and archeology but I believe my best skill is making every tour a unique experience for my clients, I always listen their needs and desire and always try to outdo their expectations. I love meet people from all over the world, I love sharing my passion for my city with them. Naples for his history is a little different from the others Italian city. A hidden gem that deserve to be known. Join me in a tour around my city. A presto Barbara                                                                                                                                  

Herculaneum Tour Guide - Maria S.

Maria S.

5.00 / 5
(1 reviews)

I am a qualified tourist guide and I have been working for many years with several customers coming to Italy on private or group tours. I speak fluently English, French, Japanese and Spanish, I also speak German at an intermediate level. I am interested in supplying tours in my area, the Campania region. I offer guided tours of Pompeii and Herculaneum and many other achaeological areas, as well as city tours in the town of Naples, Caserta, Salerno, Benevento and Avellino. I also offer tours to museums, churches, galleries, castles, royal palaces and to natural spots like Capri island, Ischia island or Procida island and the Amalfi coast. I would be really happy to join your group as I noticed that your system offers different opportunities to share the most interesting tours and activities. I thank you so much and I look forward to hear from you.                                                                                                                                 

Campania Tour Guide - Anna maria  C.

Anna maria C.


Hi, I'm a local Expert and already work with clients from all over the world driving my guests to the most visited places like Pompeii, Amalfi Coast, Sorrento, Naples and much more. Me and my team have been working with guides for more than 12 years. My team and I take people from all over the world around our beautiful region, showing them the most hidden places and giving them lots of information on how the locals live. We bring you into contact with locals, like us, to immerse you in authentic culture.                                                                                                                                  

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