Herculaneum is a top tourist destination near Naples. It is situated on the coast of the Gulf of Naples in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, not far from the buried city of Pompeii. The site is of particular archaeological and historical interest due primarily to the fact that, after it was completely buried in volcanic ash and mud in 79 AD, it remained buried for some 1,600 years. The ruins of Herculaneum are also particularly notable, even among other archaeological sites of interest that were impacted by Vesuvius such as Pompeii and Oplontis, because they are so amazingly well preserved.
Today, when you take tours to Herculaneum, you will be able to witness life as it was nearly 2,000 years ago in this part of southern Italy. From the awe-inspiring Herculaneum mosaics, to the full houses, gymnasium, public baths, and skeletal remains, you will be amazed at just how interesting and engaging this place is. Of all the Roman ruins in or around the city of Naples, Herculaneum gives visitors the best chance to get a glimpse of the details of everyday life during the time of the Romans and Greeks in this part of Italy.
Although it was settlers from Greece who first colonized this area, at the time of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, this was a Roman city. The eruption of Mount Vesuvius impacted Pompeii well before it did Herculaneum, prompting many people to speculate that the majority of the people inside the city must have had time to get out, a luxury that those in Pompeii certainly did not enjoy. However, when concerted excavation began to take place in earnest in the early 1980s, over 250 skeletons were found huddled together in twelve boat houses.
When you take tours to Herculaneum, you will essentially get to see the remains of an entire little town. What is so interesting is that it allows you to reconstruct what life must have been like, down to the little details—what kind of utensils they used for cooking, how they constructed their houses, what kind of scrolls they wrote, where they bathed, and how they co-existed with one another. The Herculaneum mosaics are just one indication of how highly advanced and artistically inclined this early society in fact was.
The amazing Herculaneum mosaics can be found in the variety of houses that have been excavated on the site. Perhaps the best examples of these magnificent mosaics are contained with the Villa of the Papyri, a luxurious seafront villa. This famous villa features four terraces that stretch to the sea, a library, and many other amazing details. Several important scrolls were unearthed at this site. The College of the Augustales, the House of Argus, and the House of Aristides are three more locations where you will be able to see some of the most amazing Herculaneum mosaics.
You have a couple of options when it comes to taking tours to Herculaneum. If you want to be picked up at your hotel and have a full, four-hour guided tour, you can do this, but it can be pretty pricey. For those people looking to explore the grounds on their own, it is open for public viewing as well and the site is accessible via public trains. Just like the Teatro di San Carlo and the Certosa di San Martino, this is one attraction near Naples that you do not want to miss.