On my trip to Sorrento I chose Herculaneum over Pompeii to visit, having been to Pompeii before. Herculaneum is more interesting as it has more well-preserved ruins. The homes, marbles and mosaics are stunning and as it is smaller you have much more time to explore each exhibit.
Herculaneum is about 6 kilometres from Mount Vesuvius and it was destroyed by that volcano in 79 AD. Only one quarter of the city has been uncovered with the modern town of Ercolano sitting on top of the remainder.
Herculaneum was a smaller, wealthier city than Pompeii and had more extravagant houses. Vivid frescoes are found in the Hall of the Augustales on the Decumanus Maximus as you can see above.
This city was also destroyed in a different way from Pompeii which is why its ruins are so well preserved. Apparently due to the winds on that fateful day Pompeii was severely affected on the first day of the Vesuvius eruption and many of the roofs collapsed under the weight of the falling ash whereas Herculaneum lay west of Vesuvius and escaped the first crushing of ash. On the second day ash fell more slowly and so preserved many wooden buildings, roofs and doors.
For me, Herculaneum was the most impressive particularly because of the skeletons. There were hundreds of men, women and children, in the boat houses by the shore, waiting for rescue and thy all died.
My next holiday trip will be to Australia from 13 October back in the shop on 15 November.
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