The excavations of Ercolano
The excavations of Ercolano are less famous than the ones of Pompeii but they actually complete them. The excavations of the two ancient Roman towns show two contemporary realities but they also show their differences. This is why it is interesting having a visit to both places. Pompeii has been almost completely unearthed and it is possible to understand how a town during the reign ofTiberius lived. The ancient Ercolano, instead, has not been completely unearthed because on its territory there is the modern town, so many ancient important buildings are missing. But many details are better preserved. Ercolano was covered by a hot “cloud” whose temperature was higher than 100°. This cloud brought also liquefied fragments of rocks. When they got cold, these powders became like a mud that was able to penetrate any spaces and any gaps. In this way, they protected the materials that were burnt but not destroyed. This is why objects were so well preserved. For example, there is a “grocery” shop that still preserves the shelves with the amphorae (they were the most common containers of the period).
In the so-called ‘Villa dei Papiri’ a library was found. Books (contained in papyruses) were burnt but using the right techniques they could be unrolled and read, thus giving us an inestimable patrimony of knowledge about that age.
In Ercolano understanding actions and habits of our ancestors is easy and it is especially easy to imagine the moments of everyday life and to discover that world was not so different. Visiting these excavations means having the possibility to know a lot about our past and to feel special sensations thanks to the objects, houses, and so on, that are so well preserved.
We recommend to wear comfortable shoes, ancient Roman roads are not very smooth. In sunny days it is advisable wearing a hat and during the summer it is better to use special protective creams.
Corso Resina, Ercolano (NA)
Main access routes:
Circumvesuviana Napoli-Sorrento or Napoli - Poggiomarino or Napoli - Torre Annunziata (stop Ercolano)
Autostrada A3 Napoli-Salerno (exit Ercolano)