Skip to main content

Tuesday Travels: Herculaneum

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
You may not have heard about Herculaneum; everyone seems to know about Pompeii, but Herculaneum also fell victim to Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. According to our tour guide, Herculaneum was a more upscale town. At the very least, it utilized a sewer system that went under the streets, as opposed to the above-ground, free-flowing waste that traveled the streets of Pompeii. 

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
Before Herculaneum was covered in mud, it sat right at the edge of the sea. (The mud extended the shore out quite a bit.) When Mt. Vesuvius first erupted, some of the residents of Herculaneum fled to the boat houses to await rescue. Unfortunately, rescue did not come. An intense blast of heat from another eruption instantly killed the waiting people. Today, around 300 skeletons can be seen at Herculaneum. According to our guide, DNA analysis has proved the familial relationships of some of the remains. It is a somber thought to reflect on the circumstances of the death of so many people. 

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


Comments

  1. Our tour went to Pompeii instead, and i always wished i could have seen both.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are always more places to explore, aren't there?

      Delete

Post a Comment

Conversations are so much nicer when more than one person does the talking. :-) Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts; I'd love to hear from you!

Popular posts from this blog

Ten Things of Thankful: Dad's Influence Edition

Infant-me, sitting on the wood floor, looks up at my dad, who is sitting on a brown sofa and smiling down to me Here in the United States, it is Father's Day weekend. I did not realize until recently that Father's Day was not officially made a holiday until 1972. 1972! Now, while I realize that many people consider 1972 eons ago, I do not. I'm glad that fathers have a day of recognition now, because they surely deserve acknowledgement.  I thought for this week's Ten Things of Thankful post, I would list ten lessons I'm thankful my dad taught me. My dad is a teacher. Not only did he impart his knowledge to countless junior high aged kids throughout his career, he taught--and still teaches--my siblings and me. He is not a preachy teacher; he's a humble man whose lessons I feel like I learned through osmosis. When he would get home from work, we'd all sit down as a family for supper. Often, our phone would ring, and on the other end of the line would be a paren

Ten Things of Thankful: Summer Strawberries and Procrastinated Projects

A brilliantly-colored dark pink and purple fuchsia blossom You would think that by the time a person reaches my age, she would not be surprised by the passing of time, yet I find myself nearly constantly amazed that a certain amount of time has passed--whether that be a week, month, year, or couple of decades. Earlier this year, I planted a garden. Yesterday I harvested my first strawberry. Earlier this year, I also planted fuchsia starts, and now the flowers are blooming. How is that possible? (And why am I surprised?) Sometime around the turn of the century (and it still seems strange to use that phrase about the year 2000), we bought a circa 1935 dresser. It needed some TLC, but had a cool curvy front. This past week, I finally got around to applying some Restor-A-Finish and Feed-N-Wax, and now the dresser still looks old, but not dilapidated. I still need to apply some hide glue to some loose pieces, but I'm counting progress as a win. For as long as I can remember, I've be

Ten Things of Thankful: From Sunrise to Moonset

Cars and trucks on a highway travel toward the rising sun                                    John and I made a quick, task-oriented trip to California last week. We wore our masks and stayed at an acceptable social distance from others (which is hard for grandchildren to understand, but we mostly succeeded.) We're now home, and at the "I need a vacation to recover from my 'vacation' " stage, which makes sitting down to compose a TToT post a bit of a challenge. However, I know that I will feel better by the end of this post, so bear with me if you will.  1. I'm thankful that we had no problems with traffic going there or coming home. We left our hotel at about quarter to four on Friday morning. The early start, fewer families traveling this year, or, most likely, a combination of the two, made for an easy drive.  2. I'm thankful for books to help pass the time. We haven't actually finished yet (as I was reading aloud, and my voice can only last for so l