Ercolano: the archaeological area
Ercolano, a fusion of past and present
Many foreign tourists find the archaeological area of Ercolano more beautiful than the more famous Pompei. Most of these tourists like the Ercolano site because it is more intimate, easier to visit and doesn't require long and sometimes difficult walks to see the diverse areas of the excavations. In truth, the archaeological area of Ercolano is appreciated for many other reasons, including the fact that it offers the visitor entire architectural blocks that have survived the eruption of Vesuvio in 79 B.C. and are in a magnificent state of conservation. The force of the lavic eruption in Ercolano was less violent and many houses, villas, warehouses and shops were more or less spared, allowing us to enjoy them today in all of their splendour. This also allowed many vases, jars, wooden structures and small every day utensils to survive.
Most of these objects were destroyed in Pompei. Thanks to all this, the ruins at Ercolano offer a more intimate and relaxed atmosphere, less invaded by tourists and allows the visitor to enter in closer contact with the habits, the activities, the daily life of the people that once lived there. Personally, we like the ruins of Ercolano for the atmosphere that surrounds it and for the real sense of human tragedy that destroyed it. The tragedy is still obvious in the heaps of skeletons and bodies piled up to the barrel vaults of the warehouses that line the ancient road to the port and the marina; skeletons of the people that crowded together along the sea, waiting for salvation that could only come from the sea and that, unfortunately, was overturned, congealed, and swept away by the fury of the magma from the volcano.
If you visit Ercolano, don't miss the Sannitica house that is a magnificent example of the structure of the Italian house from preRoman times, and the House of Neptune and Anfitrite to which is attached an ancient shop that is among the best preserved in the world. Of particular interest is the House at Graticcio, which was intended as a rental property and is one of very few examples of working class accommodations to survive from ancient times. The name of the building is derived from the low-cost construction technique, with internal walls realized in wood frame and filled with a light material and cemented with mud (opus craticium). Not far from Ercolano are Pompei, Oplonti and the Vesuvian villas.
Ercolano: time table and opening periods
The site is open to tourists from 8:30 until 17:00 (15:30 last entry ) from 1st November until 31st March. From 8:30 until 19:30 ( last entry 18:00 )from 1st April until 31st October. The site is closed to tourists on January 1st, May 1st, and December 25th.
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