Herculaneum Archaeological tour
price up to 8 people
Max 8 people
Minimum age 18 years
Herculaneum has always been considered the equivalent of a lesser important “sister” to the more highly considered Pompeii: but is this really so? After all, both towns met with the same destiny: buried, one by different levels of volcanic ash 9 ft. high, the other by a mud flow 27 mts. high, both resulting from the horrendous volcanic eruption which began on the 24th August of the year 79 A.D., to which mount Vesuvius was the principal responsible; so why not consider the two towns with an identical approach?
Probably the greater extension of Pompeii’s archaeological site is better versed in diluting within its vaster area that immense flux of visitors every year ready to confront themselves with an incredible trip to the past root of civilization; therefore, an answer to my query could be handed over to me by analyzing the soulless strength of numbers, even though to my mind the two archaeological sites - one for specific reasons, the other for others – are both able to provide its visiting crowds with suggestions and depths of historical perspective which are both equally valid for an unsurpassed “excursus” back in time, such as to let us actively partake, not mere spectators, but real-time actors, within scenes of daily life such as one would have experienced in the Classic world, enjoying moments of full immersion, say, in the hecstatic contemplation of the art of that time.
With my guided visit to these ancient history sites, you can make ample treasure of the real life experience of these two Roman towns, and you might even leave with the impression that Herculaneum, though smaller than Pompeii, was more an “interesting” place… this because it was one of those many towns to be found along the coastal edge of the gulf of Naples, places of leisure and varied activities, which were identified by the standard Roman senator as his own “private play yard”: walking along Herculaneum’s thoroughfares you conversed about philosophy, Epicure, Seneca: you would analyse the presence and importance of the Gods in daily life, you would ponder about faith, destiny… you would confront one another in knowledge of foreign cults, such as the cult of Isis, an Egyptian cult… In other words, you dedicated your full attention to the business of “otium”!
My history tour of Herculaneum will also call for you to reflect upon an important phenomenon: if you consider that behind the many fragmented political interests of the time, there were men who, for the most part belonged to the same social group, the same who came to spend the summer months by this enchanting resort, you’ll understand how towns like Herculaneum were really like “melting pots” for the birth and diffusion of new ideas – some of which could be a touch subversive – which however would always aim to maintain a social order continuity, such as it had been established in the early years of the Republic.
In conclusion, whereas a visit to the archaeological site of Pompeii shall let you stand in awe in front of its potential of full immersion with the goals, ambitions, hopes of the common man, with the archaeological tour of Herculaneum you can be tempted to enjoy, instead - if we want to use a television expression - a “full close-up” on the life of the classic Roman senator, allowing you to better understand both the evolutions and contradictions of that historic time from a more “personalized” and less “globalized” viewpoint.
The transport to the site offers 3 options:
- The local train line “Circumvesuviana” which runs every half hour from
Sorrento to destination, and will take approx. 40 minutes for Pompeii; an
hour for Herculaneum and 1 hour 20 for Naples. It’s economic but quite raw.
- The train line “Campania Express” which runs at approx a couple of hours
distance one from the other, and takes about 25 minutes to Pompeii, 40 min.
to Herculaneum and about 55 min. to Naples. It costs a little bit more but
offers more guarantees for a seat and cuts off most of the intermediate stops
in between Sorrento and destination.
- Private car hire.