My wife and I were recently in the Mediterranean on vacation and one of our stops was at Napoli (Naples), Italy. This presented an opportunity to visit one of the cities destroyed by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. Esther and I chose Herculaneum over Pompeii. (Honestly I had never heard of Herculaneum before!)


Whereas Pompeii was covered under molten lava, Herculaneum was covered by hot mud. In Pompeii, some distance away, most buildings collapsed under the weight of the lava but in Herculaneum many structures remain in tack. The result is a very complete Roman resort city.


Another difference is that many of the citizens of Pompeii were unable to escape while most residents of Herculaneum were able to flee. Thus, there are a few replicas of skeletons but not many.


A new city was built on top of Herculaneum prior to the excavation which has been going on for over 200 years. Herculaneum was a seaside town but is now quite removed from the Mediterranean Sea as the harbor was partially filled in by the eruption.


One of the things that surprised me most was the elaborate, and original, frescoes on many of the interior walls and floors of the homes occupied by the elite of Rome. I was also impressed by the toilets, the “sewer” system, and the swimming pool (still mostly hidden.


Some photos of the town are posted. I will post photos of the frescoes tomorrow. Remember you are looking at a city that is 2,000 years old and occupied by Romans! Rather amazing to be walking the streets where Roman senators may once have walked!!

Henry Lowndes,
C.T. Lowndes & Company
Posted 1:05 PM

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