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Herculaneum - At Least as Good as Pompeii
If you like Pompeii you will love Herculaneum, in fact if time is restricted it could be a very good alternative.
This site could be well covered in a morning, and from the same station Vesuvius can be visited after lunch in one of the many local restaurants.
The site is much smaller than Pompeii and in many respects better preserved. Rather than being covered by ash like Pompeii the town suffered from a mud and lava flow. Being on a much smaller scale it is easier to visualize what like was like before the terrible events in AD79.
When you buy an entry ticket, pick up the excellent free map and a booklet (various languages available).The cost is €11 for this site or €20 for a deal to Pompeii and 3 smaller sites as well, over 65s get in free with ID!
See my Sorrento Tourist trap warning but don't let it spoil your visit.
Pompeii Herculaneum Warning
Pompeii and Herculaneum
Both sites are easily accessible by train from Naples, so at least Pompeii should be on your to do list when visiting Naples.
Both roman towns were submerged by the AD79 eruption of Mt Vesuvius, so are remarkably preserved and you have really a feeling of wandering the streets the inhabitants just left...
Many exhibits coming from these sites are also on display in the Naples Archeological museum.
- Historical Travel
Pompeii & Herculaneum
Pompeii is a World famous tourist attraction. Herculaneum gets a fair amount of tourists but isn't nearly as well known. Regardless, they both have the same grim story to tell about a catastrophic volcanic event that happened on 24 August; A.D. 79.
Herculaneum is the smaller of the two cities. Yet, the well preserved mosaics, statues, and other items of ancient Roman life left "in sitio"makes it a worth while visit if you have the time.
Pompeii is a surprisingly big complex and you could easily spend a whole day wandering among the ancient streets and stepping into areas that were at one time taverns, or city halls, or private residences, or even brothels.
If you are interesting in archeology and ancient history then I think these two sites would be something you'd definitely want to see if you made a trip to the Naples region.
- Historical Travel
I absolutely loved Herculaneum. It's smaller and less crowded than Pompeii. The buildings are in better shape and you can delve deeper into them. The town of Ercolano was also very pleasant. I would recommend eating lunch before going to the ruins (scavi) because 1) they don't sell food there, 2) by the time you come out, the restaurants have closed for the afternoon.
Ravin' Ruins (pompei/herculaneum)
Both cities were destroyed by the Vesuvius eroption in AD 79, pompei largely affected by the ash fall from the eruption and herculaneum by the mud slides that followed the quake.
Both of these sites offer very compelling glimpses of what a thriving roman city would have looked like in its glory days.
Pompei is the larger of the two and tends to be the preferred one due to its size and added sites such as its impressive amphitheater.
Pompei is much more accessible to tourists too, the whole town revolves around the ruins and can offer more tourist guidebooks, tourist menus and tourist parking than you could imagine.
The circumvesuviana (main station is Piazza Garibaldi) also has stops by both sites.
Pompei night tours and Ercolano
In Pompeii it’s possible to live interesting nocturnal tour which show, with the support of multimedial images, the history of two thousand years ago.
Suggestion on Forum is a show which starts from the Porta Marina and it progressively reveals, through a mix of lights and sounds, all the different environments of the town. A voice accompanies the show, and narrates events and curiosities of the life in Pompeii in 79 p.C.
Pompeii by night, instead, is a moonlight free-walk in the excavations, thanks to a fixed lighting system. With more than 500 lights set in the ancient town. It’s a beautiful plunge in the life of Roman Empire.
When Vesuvius erupted on 24 August 79 A.D., it engulfed the two flourishing Roman towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, as well as the many rich villas in the areas. Since the mid 18th century these have been progressively uncovered and made accessible to the public.
The vast expanse of the commercial town of Pompeii contrasts with the restricted but better preserved remains of the holiday resort of Herculaneum; however both towns give a great impression of the opulent life-style of the citizens of the early Roman Empire.
Herculaneum is one of the best examples of the life in the Roman Empire, even if it contains Greek influences: in fact its name, Herculaneum, was dedicated to Hercules. It was uncovered since 1738, and the excavations are still today uncompleted. In Herculaneum we can admire a lot of buildings: Deers’ House, the House with a mosaic atrium, Neptune’s House, Bicentenary’s House (which shows tracks of the Cross, and it is an important evidence of the Christian worship), and so on. There is also a theatre and some thermal baths.
More extended than Herculaneum, Pompei was an important commercial centre and a strategic point of relation between Rome and the Empire.
Opening hours Pompeii by night: 15th May-11th Oct (20.30-23.30)
Herculaneum: Nov-Mar/Apr-Oct (8.30-17.00/19.30).
[Egicom05 - by Sun City]
Pompeii's upmarket relation, on the coast (then). Drowned, not in ashes, but in boiling mud. It is therefore more difficult to excavate - and the minor problem of being under a thriving town doesn't help!
HERCULANEUM: If you're...
HERCULANEUM: If you're planning to visit Pompei, you'd do well to consider a trip to Herculaneum as well.
Herculaneum was buried in a mudslide from the same eruption that buried Pompei. This lack of heat preserved the town a bit better so that some wood and even rope survives to this day. In addition, most of the artifacts and wall and floor decorations are left in place and have not been removed to museums (as is the case in Pompei). The overall effect is a site that lacks the size and grandeur of Pompei but is more intimate, detailed, and visually interesting.
Much of the artwork, like this fresco, were preserved in mud. Elsewhere in the city you will see a painting that, if I remember right, was the first evidence of Christianity's spread outside the middle east.
The other city (besides Pompeii) that was destroyed with the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. This city is different in that it was covered by the mudslide, not hot volcanic ash, so much of the woodwork and paintings were preserved. It's closer to Naples than Vesuvius, so it makes an easier day trip.
Here you can see some of the woodwork that was preserved in the mud, unlike Pompeii where it was all burned by hot ash.
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