Herculaneum Travel Guide

  • Looking down on the ruins
    Looking down on the ruins
    by iandsmith
  • All this was once buried
    All this was once buried
    by iandsmith
  • Port storage area near where bodies were found
    Port storage area near where bodies were...
    by iandsmith

Herculaneum Highlights

  • Pro
    toonsarah profile photo

    toonsarah says…

     Smaller and quieter than Pompeii 

  • Con
    leics profile photo

    leics says…

     Get there early: it's a popular, and very small, site. 

  • In a nutshell
    Balam profile photo

    Balam says…

     Amazing ! 

Herculaneum Things to Do

  • The Samnite House Is A Fine Patrician...

    The Samnite House has a fine outside portal with carved capitals at its upper lateral edges. It is followed by a vestibule whose walls are done in the first style and with a floor done in fine tiling. Inside of the atrium is a central impluvium. The upper floor has Ionic columns and a gallery.There is a compluvium above the Atrium decorated with...

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  • The Palestra Is In the Northeast End of...

    A long side of the Palestra consists of a long series of columns and a portico with overall dimensions of 360 by 260 feet. It is in the northeast end of town.

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  • Visit the House of the Wooden Partition

    The moderately rich citizens had rather fine home. One of these was the House of the Wooden Partition which had a nice atrium and central pool. It received its name because there was a fi set of s;ding doors still in place that could combine two rooms to expand space for special situations. Amazingly the upper face of the outside entry door is in...

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  • The Snack Bar or Thermopolium

    Thee large snack bar had long marble tables with heavy amphorae whose bases are set into the floor.Many of the pots seem to indicate that hot food was served as well ( was it a tavola calda?}.

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  • The Wine Is Kept In Large Jugs

    The wine is kept in large jjugs and is transferred to pitchers when sold. Seen above from the shop are parts of a second story with an end of a wooden bed ams metal fittings.

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  • The Bakery Is An Important Gathering...

    As we have seen in our travels, even in the 21C, the people in at least the south of Italy still use the local bakery as a place to bring their unbaked loaves. In Ancient Herculaneum the fining of the grain was also done. The oven was un the next room.Where the Grain Is Made Into Dough

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  • HorseTroughs

    At points along the streets there are stone troughs at which to water horses and other animals. That they would be decorated with heads indicates their care for their animals.

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  • The Women's Section of the Baths Was...

    The womens' section of the baths was smaller and in the disrobing room there was a mosaic in the floor showing a triton and various marine creatures. Note the undulating nature of the floor caused by the eruption. Various details still reman down to moldings on the round pooi and fragments of the painted ceiling of the pool.

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  • Vesuvius {s Nearest to Ercolano

    There is a moderate distance from Ercolanoi to the base if the volcano. From above the ruins of Herculaneum this is the view.

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  • The Forum Baths Had Male and Female...

    Even the vestibules were separate. Each had prominent disrobing rooms with sets of cubicles for storing their clothes. The floor of the male room was done in small tiles with no decoration. There were vents in a rounded ceiling that peaked near the center with straight walls at the lower level about three feet above the ground.

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  • The Atrium of the House of the Relief of...

    Th[s Atrium is a quite fine looking. There are fine sets of pillars and a central pool. On one wall is a bas relief of the story of Telephus being helped by Achilles, who had wounded him.There are columns on three sides of the atrium. Between some of the columns oscillas have been replaced which are satyrs (nymphs).

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  • Look At Furnishings of House of Deer

    The most unusual piece at the House of the Deer is a three legged "coffee table" with lionesses at each leg.

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  • A Visit To the House of the Deer (or...

    The Mansion is one of the finest and largest in the town.From the first picture we are looking out at an embankment toward the sea. We are in the shade of an atrium and there is a garden at the right. Ahead is the enclosed dining room.

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  • The Hall of the Shrine of the Augustales

    This large room is over 40 by 50 feet in size. On one wall is a painting of a bronzed Hercules sitting with Jupiter's wife Juno standing behind him and Minerva in a helmet nearby. The room has four large pillars in the middle of the room and there are many simpler pictures on the walls and the back wall is plainly finished

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  • See the Other Atrium Walls of the House...

    On the adjacent wall of the atrium of the House of Neptune there are incomplete but large portions of a colorful hunting scene containing dogs. and stags

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  • The House of the Mosaic Atrium Is a...

    The entrance to the house leads into an atrium with painted walls. There are many intact walls with open window areas and doorways. Some of the rooms have mosaic floors and others have floor decoration. In area the floors are disrupted from the eruption.

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  • The proconsul

    The statue of Proconsul Marcus Nonius Balbus, standing in the square near the suburban baths in Herculeneum.The big rectangular enclosure preceding the entrance of the suburban Thermae is occupied, in the middle, by Marco Nonio Balbo's altar-cenotaph, erected in the early Augustan age in the place where his body had been cremated and his ashes...

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  • Neptune and Amphitrite

    This is another richly decorated house, and the well preserved wall mosaics are striking for their rich colours.Its name derives from the glass paste wall mosaic depicting Neptune and Amphitrite, which adorns the east wall of the room.On the north side is a nymphaeum, with niches for statues surrounded by art, also covered with a glass paste...

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  • Inside another

    The house, also known as the House of Neptune and Amphitrite, lies to the north of the House of the Carbonised Furniture on Cardo IV. The owner of the house must also have owned the connecting wine shop at No.6, which opens directly onto the street and has the original storage jars. The shop has survived almost intact and is the best preserved...

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  • House of the Deer

    This place gets its name from a rather graphic sculpture that depicts a deer being savaged by dogs.However, there are more sculptures in the house as well as some frescoes though the sculptures are all copies, the originals being located in a more secure museum environment, the same as some of the best mosaics.The House of the Deer opens off the...

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  • House of the Deer inside

    This is the dining room which opens up onto the garden rectangle. It is decorated with red bands on a black background. Beyond this room is a long hallway that leads to the kitchen and latrine. Having a kitchen is a sign that this home was owned by the wealthy.

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Herculaneum Hotels

Herculaneum Transportation

  • The Circumvesuviana

    The Circumvesuviana railway line runs along the coast from Naples to Sorrento and provides easy and convenient access to all the main ancient sites. Circumvesuviana trains are rather like Metro/subway trains, though the line is mostly overground. They are safe, comfortable enough, cheap and have a frequent service. Expect to stand at busy times of...

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  • By train to Herculaneum

    We found it very easy to get to Herculaneum from Naples by train, so it’s not necessary to take a sightseeing tour unless you want to. There’s a great little line called the Circumvesuviana that leaves from an off-shoot of the Centrale railway station in the city. You can buy your tickets at a counter there, or in the main ticket office (where you...

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  • Ercolano from Naples or Sorrento by...

    You can get to Ercolano on the local train (Circumvesuviana - 'around vesuvius'). It is 20 minutes from Naples or 50 minutes from Sorrento. See the website, and remember the station names are in Italian (Napoli for Naples).

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Herculaneum Local Customs

  • Tolik's Profile Photo
    Murals in Scaello degli Augustali

    by Tolik Written Jul 24, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Ancient Herculaneum was built in the deadly shadow of Mount Vesuvius and destroyed in 79AD by the Vesuvius’ eruption.

    To visit the Herculaneum ruins take the regular train service from Naples on the Circumvesuviana Railway (20min). Exit the Ercolano Scavi station into the small parking lot. Via IV Novembra, the main street there, takes you directly to the Herculaneum archeological area entrance after a 6-8 min downhill walk towards the Bay of Naples. There is a small tourist office on the street.

    You can visit the ruins daily 8:30am to 6pm. Pay admission 10€ and take a free map. Follow the path running above and around the ruins, then descend through a tunnel to emerge near the Suburban Baths. We explored the site clockwise, from Cardo II Inferiore, to Decumano Massimo, to Cardo V Inferiore. Although all the streets and buildings of Herculaneum hold interest, some ruins attracted more our attention than the others. The baths (terme) are divided between those at the forum and the Suburban Baths (Terme Suburbane) on the outskirts, near the more elegant villas. The municipal baths, which segregated the sexes(Terme Maschhili and Terme Femminili), are larger, but the ones at the edge of town are more lavishly decorated. I recommend to visit the Casa del Tramezzo di Legno (House of the Wooden Partition), the Casa di Poseidon (House of Poseidon), the Casa di Nettuno ed Anfitrite (House of Neptune and Amphitrite), the Casa a Graticcio (House of the Wooden Cabinet).

    The best example of how the aristocracy lived is the Casa dei Cervi (House of the Deer), named the because of the sculpture found inside. These sculptures are small (2 feet or so tall) but quite amazing; for example, statue of a drunken Hercules urinating.

    Remember that there is more to Ercolano than the Herculaneum ruins. If you have enough time, you can explore Palestra or visit one of the beautiful 19th century villas east of the ancient town. North-west of the ruins along Corso Ercolano are the remains of the Amphitheater.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology

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Herculaneum Warnings and Dangers

  • Water

    Although more sheltered and thus not as hot as Pompeii it can still get very hot in summer so make sure you take some water with you and wear a hat.On a good note, unlike Pompeii, at Herculaneum your ticket is for the day so you can go out into the surrounding town for something to eat and drink then return to the site

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  • Mt Vesuvius

    On Mt Vesuvius wear good footwear - and watch your footing on the way down - both my husband and I almost had a few spills.

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  • Herculaneum Hotels

    4 Hotels in Herculaneum

    41 Reviews and Opinions

Herculaneum Off The Beaten Path

  • I Do Not Know All the House Names

    Every house in Herculaneum has been given a name, usually by its rediscoverer, many are fine sights. They are more than I can assimilate. They worked hard to recreate this atrium area.

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  • Organic artefacts

    It's easy not to register the superb preservation of those organic artefacts which remain in Herculaneum: one is so taken up with the streets, and the buildings, and the stunning wall-paintings.But keep your eyes open, because it is those little things which bring a place truly to life.Look for the iron window-frames, the charred wooden staircase,...

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Herculaneum Favorites

  • The story behind

    The eruption was one of the first to ever be described in detail, on this occasion by Pliny the Younger who was 30kms to the west on a boat. These days vulcanologists use the term "plinian" for the first stage of a devastating volcanic eruption such as occurred here in which dust, cinders, ashes and rocks are blasted high into the air before...

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  • Some more background

    The following is from an excellent site I researched before I went (http://sites.google.com/site/ad79eruption/herculaneum-1)"Herculaneum was re-discovered thanks to the acquisitive nature of an Austrian general, Prince d'Elboeuf. Quite why he was there is one of those strange stories of European politics. Suffice it to say that Austria had gained...

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  • Augustal delights

    The frescoes most photographed and most striking in Herculaneum are undoubedly those in one of the Augustal mansions.The Augustals were freed slaves, or liberta, who worshiped the emperor Augustus from this meeting hall near the forum as well as other places. These frescoes, located in a side room within the hall are striking not only for their...

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Explore Deeper into Herculaneum
The words of Pliny translated
Things to Do
From the house of the skeleton
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Time to eat - and you thought takeaway was new!
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The background
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First impressions
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Diaries of Darkness and Light
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Without whom...
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Herculaneum: the Hall of the Augustals
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Herculaneum: the House of the Beautiful Courtyard
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Herculaneum: the House of the Deer
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Herculaneum: get there early, allow yourself time
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The House Of The Bronze Bust
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The House Of The Mosaic Atrium
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The House Of Opus Craticium
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The Central Baths
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House of the Wooden Partition
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The Site in February
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A food shop
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Taberna Vasaria
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Thermapolium
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Inn House
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The House of the Skeleton
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The House of the Mosaic Atrium
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The House of the Alcove
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The Samnite House
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The House of Neptune & Amphitrite
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The Hall of the Augustals
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The House of the Relief of Telephus
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The House of the Deers
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The House with the Large Portal
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The eruption of Vesuvius
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Get your free plan and booklet
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Free Map and Guide
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Entrance to the Site
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Audio-Guide
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Archaeological site
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The Most Famous Volcano On the Planet
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Ancient Tragedy on the Bay Of Naples Shores
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Meeting With Vesuvius
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The Long And Winding Road To Vesuvius
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Map of Herculaneum

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