|Photo: A panoramic view of the ruins of the ancient city of Herculaneum|
One of the days we stayed in Naples, John and I decided to get brave and use some of our free time to take the train to the nearby town of Ercolano to view the ancient ruins of Herculaneum. We caught the early train, so we could arrive at opening "to avoid the crowds." The rain did a good job of keeping the (albeit, off-season) crowds at bay, but our early arrival on an inclement morning did assure that we toured an almost-empty city.
|Photo: An empty abandoned narrow path in Herculaneum|
Another major difference between the two cities is that Pompeii was covered with ash from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, but Herculaneum was buried in mud. Because of the mud, air could not reach the ruins, so wood that normally would have decomposed is still preserved. The eruption occurred in 79 A.D., and it amazes me to think that anything wooden could still be around from that long ago!
|Photo: John and I stand between the panels of the large sliding wooden door|
The mud also helped preserve the vibrant colors of the art on the walls of the homes and shops.
|Photo: A room from a home in Herculaneum is covered with vibrant red and blue murals|
|Photo: A mosaic on a wall of a home depicts various animals against an intensely deep blue sky|
Seeing the skeletons, and hearing the information our tour guide, Luciano Leone, told us, really helped bring Herculaneum to life. If you ever visit, I would recommend hiring a tour guide. I learned so much more than I would have if I had just explored on my own.
|Photo: Our tour guide (Luciano Leone), poses for a selfie with John and me|