Where is Herculaneum?

Pompeii may be famous throughout the world, but the small town of Herculaneum suffered the same fate during the massive eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Set just a short drive northwest from Pompeii, Herculaneum was Pompeii’s neighbour and sister site. The town is rich in preserved beauties, with buckets of crumbling buildings and artefacts to discover, as it has been also being buried under the volcano’s thick layer of debris for hundreds of years.

The History of Herculaneum

It’s name ‘Herculaneum’ is thought to be related to the Greek hero Heracles, signifying that the town was of Greek Origin. Herculaneum was once a wealthy small coastal village, home to a vast array of rich decorations of families. During the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A. D, the town had a long time to evacuate compared to Pompeii, with some residents surviving. It buried the town under 20 metres of ash. Laying hidden in the natural time capsule until its discovery in the 18th century.

What to see there

Due to its size, Herculaneum is much easier to explore than Pompeii. With only a small fraction available to explore to the public, the small grid is simple to cover in a morning. A large majority of people prefer Herculaneum to Pompeii as has fewer crowds and is more compact. Both sites are manageable in one day, with combo tickets available at both locations and a train connecting both areas. As well it is easy to be self-guided around the town, with areas labelled with a number that you can learn about with the site guide booklet or audio-guide. There are sections that are even more preserved than Pompeii, with brilliant coloured frescos, conserved shop buildings, and public fountains. Peek inside the buildings to find the treasures that remain inside.

It’s Top Attractions

House of Galba

A beautifully preserved upper-class mansion, the House of Galba is well worth the peek inside. Decorated in the peristyle, the key attraction inside is the large pool in the shape of a cross. Historians have speculated multiple uses for this pool, venturing it could have once been a reservoir, a fish pond, or even a bath for the household.

Sacello degli Augustali

Sacello degli Augustali is a large square shrine set alight by an opening in the roof. What is truly exceptional about this fabulous shrine is the persevered frescoes. The shrine was once dedicated to Hercules, patron of Herculaneum, but later turned to the Imperial cult. The remaining frescos depict both religious areas but have more Hercules paintings intact.

The Baths

A visit to the ancient land of Romans wouldn’t be complete without a visit to their famous thermal baths. These baths were used by all citizens, regardless of their gender, age, or class-as it was rare for any household to have their own private baths. The decorations of these baths are still intact in this ancient town, with a mosaic of dolphins, and tepidarium floors, and wooden shelves.

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