About Me

I am a 45 year husband and dad, currently adjusting to life back in the United States after living in Italy for a little over two years. I love spending time with my family, cycling, model railroading, mosaics and watching TV and movies.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Herculaneum (Ercolano)

We slept in a bit today, stopped for breakfast in town, then caught the train to Herculaneum.

The Men's Club in Sorrento has this model of the Amalfi Coast region.  It's a large display, but this is the only picture that turned out. 

Circumvesuviana Train we rode to Ercolano

Herculaneum is smaller and not as ruined as the more famous Pompeii.  It also offers a closer, more intimate look inot ancient Roman life.  While Pompeii was initially smothered in ash and pumice, Herculaneum was buried under nearly 60 feet of boiling mud, which hardened into tufa, perfectly preserving the city until excavations in 1738.  

Herculaneum is surrounded by the modern city on all sides.  You can see how deep the mud flow was by how low the ruins are compared to the modern city above. 

This was the port area.  Today, the waterfront is about a kilometer away. 

Where should we start?

Mt Vesuvius looms in the distance.

A shrine in one of the villas

I loved all the detail that was undisturbed

Roman fast food bar

Decorative pool, inner courtyard of a house

In some building you can still see charred wood beams

Roman baths.  This was the womens side.

Changing area.  Notice the stone bench and shelf overhead

Intricate mosaics on the floors of the bath.

I think it says:  Augustus Orders - No smoking in the baths, please remove all clothing before entering pool...I really don't know!  I don't read Latin.

Frescoes in the Seat of the Augustali, a forum for freed slaves climbing their way up the ladder of Roman socitety.

The charred remains (held in place with steel) of racks for jugs inside a restaurant.

An amazing mosaic.

Another amazing mosaic in the men's side of the baths.

One of the small baths.

Charred remains of rigging from the port.

It was lunch time, so we made our way back to the visitors center only to find out that the caffeteria was closed for the season.  The employee pointed to two vending machines, so we pooled all of our change and this is what we had for lunch...HEALTHY!

Brandon tried to supplement our lunch at the Roman restaurant.

I loved the color of the floors in this portside villa.

Brandon, being a 9 year old boy again. 

The frescoes in this villa were spectacular.

From the edge of the port, you can look up and see deep Herculaneum was buried in hot mud.

Floor tiles in the Suburban Baths

Wash basin

This is the volcanic stone that filled the wash basin

The pool

Roman decoratation

I really enjoyed Herculaneum.   I think we all did.  Pompeii was interesting due to its size as a city, but Herculaneum has a lot more intact details.  I especially enjoyed the vast number of mosaics. 

We caught the train back to Sorrento and headed to dinner.  As with most of our evenings so far, we also wandered the streets of Sorrento checking out the architecture and shops. 

Tomorrow we will take the bus to Positano on the Amalfi Coast. 

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