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Ercolano

ERCOLANO TOURISM: BEST OF ERCOLANO

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THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL CITY OF ERCOLANO: WHAT TO SEE

written by Bridget Brackett

Ostuni città bianca

Brief History of Ercolano 
This is a town and a municipality situated in the region of Naples at the southern part of Italy, Campania. The town lies at Mount Vesuvius western foot on the bay of Naples at the southeast part of the city of Naples. The ancient town was built the remnants of a volcanic eruption of Vesuvius which destroyed Herculaneum, an ancient city from which Ercolano name is derived. 

The town is believed to have been found by an Italic tribe called Oscans around 8th century BC later becoming a dominion of Samnite and Etruscan. The city become a renowned tourist resort while under the Roman control which saw some of the richest Roman citizens pass their summer vocations in this town.
Herculaneum had previously suffered serious damage from an earthquake in AD 63 but had the bigger hit by the most famous eruption in world history when Vesuvius blew its lid with its eruption burying Herculaneum in a tidal wave of molten mud which enveloped the city with up to 82 feet of burning mud, rocks and sand. It is said most of its citizen died out of thermal shock from the hot pyroclastic surges rather than being buried under the ash like the neighboring Pompeii town.

After this incidence the town was repopulated in the next 1000 years which consequently saw the creation of a small town Resina which was named after the ancient sanctuary. Homes and neighborhoods were built above the uncovered ancient ruins of Herculaneum, this development triggered rediscovering and exploration of this ancient city. Resina ultimately became part of the municipal area of the city of Naples after the unification of Italy in 1861who took it up from the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. The town was later renamed from Resina to Ercolano in 1969 in a bid to revise the old name in honor of the primeval capital, Herculaneum.

Sights to visit in Ercolano
Ercolano has a relatively small archeological site as compared to that of Pompeii but the house that were excavated after the eruption are still intact with many still preserving their floor mosaics and their second stories, wall frescoes, wooden furnishings, ceiling stuccoes amongst other decors. 

The following are a number of these houses which have come to be tourist attractions in Ercolano:
Although in ruins, these remains are still in pretty good shape and a visit to them will give you an idea of how a typical ancient Roman citizen experience at these baths. After tiring exercises at the fitness center (palestra) one would continue to either the men’s or women’s section dipping first in the hot tub known as calidarium before entering the tub full of warm water and finally jumping to the frigidarium, a cold pool meant to close the pores. Some of the stuccoes and the domed ceilings still exist.

House of bicentenary
This house excavation was finished in 1938 two hundred years after the official digging had started hence named bicentenary. This house is decorated with frescoes and a cross that probably could be the oldest artifact testifying Christianity in Roman Empire.

This house has an arrangement that was distinctive of the Samnites, an ancient community that lived in this mountainous part. The remains of the casa Sannitica has its rooms decorated with frescoes with this impressive atrium that is kilted by gallery with lonic columns.

The House of the Mosaic Atrium
This is surrounded with surging checkerboard medley on the atrium floor with mythological scenes frescoed in room that overlook the garden.

This is a rich patrician mansion which probably is one of the most beautiful houses overlooking the Bay. The house is well decorated with numerous frescoes and artworks including a marvelous sculptured group of stags being attacked by dogs.

An inscription on this building states that the bakery belonged to one Sextus Patulus Felix. A large oven and mills can be seen at the backyard of the baker’s.

The theatre which is placed at the edge of the archeological site is believed to have been accommodating an approximated two thousand spectators.

This house derives its name from the wooden trellis which formed the graticcio (framework) of its walls. This house is the only antique example of this technique of construction.

This is another archeological site of a house equipped with a shop having its counter facing to the street. The nymphaeum is decorated by mosaics that depict Amphitrite and Neptune.

  • Ercolano
    Ercolano

THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL CITY OF ERCOLANO: THE SURROUNDING

written by Bridget Brackett

Ostuni città bianca

This is a town and a municipality situated in the region of Naples at the southern part of Italy,Campania. The town lies at Mount Vesuvius western foot on the bay of Naples at the southeast part of the city of Naples. The ancient town was built the remnants of a volcanic eruption of Vesuvius which destroyed Herculaneum, an ancient city from which Ercolano name is derived. 

Mount Vesuvius
During your visit in Ercolano you cannot fail to give one of the most recognized volcano mountains in the world.
Mount Vesuvius is an immediately recognizable landmark with its peak forming the surroundings of Naples. This ominous mount is recorded as the smallest active volcano mount and spitting and steaming sporadically reminding the surrounding environs that it is still a potential threat.

The highest point of the mountain reaches to an approximated 1280 meters above sea level with the bus or a private taxi will take you for the first 1000 meters from where you can take a trail up to the crater. 

The current crater of Mount Vesuvius measures a depth of 230 meters and a diameter of 650 meters. There a several openings at the base of the crater which discharged most of the molten lava from 1631 to 1944, the last time the volcano erupted.

A visit to mount Vesuvius gives a spectacular view of the crater with some of its rising fumes and the different lava stones which changes in color as you hike uphill and around its crater. When there is good weather you can enjoy the view of the neighboring Pompeii as well as the Bay of Naples. 

On one of the mountain’s side you will see the disfigured scenery where the lava streams went downhill and the remnants of the funicular railway that was built in 1870 which last operated during the volcano’s eruption in 1944. Funiculi was also a song that had been composed to commemorate the grand opening of the railway. 

The volcano was made a national park since 1995 and the place which was once up for commercial exploitation is now a preservation of fauna and a place of natural paths.

A visit to this mountain is not regarded as unsafe but adequate preparation is advisable since getting to the top requires a foot trail which is slightly above 200 meters. Do not make the mistake of coming with a just a t-shirt since it is a little colder and therefore while planning to take a visit to this mount, you may require a hat, rain gear, sun screen and water.

Getting to Ercolano one has several options starting by bus where buses make frequent trips from Naples to Ercolano and back. 
By train it takes around 25 minutes from Naples and additional 20 minutes if from Sorrento. Get off at the Ercolano Scavi station to get to the ruins from where you will exit into a tiny square from where you can purchase tour tickets from private offices. Nevertheless it is vital to note that there are only two stations along this Naples- Sorrento line i.e. Ercolano and the Ercolano Scavi. It is from this station (Scavi) from where you take a bus or a taxi to Mount Vesuvius. 

While using a car to get to Ercolano from Naples, be prepared to pay a toll of 2 Euros which is charged for using any part of the highway’s stretch. Parking might be quite hard to find but try parking your car at the southern entrance of the excavations, behind the police station. 

The following few tips to Ercolano will make your visit worth the while:

a) Combine your visit to the ruins with a climb at Mount Vesuvius.

b) Hire a tour guide to take you through the archeological sites, alternatively purchase a book guide sold outside the ruins and you will not require the services of the tour guides.

c) The tour buses arrive between 11am and 2 pm and thus you may either go early or late to catch up with them.

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The town of Ercolano, with an elevation of 44 m (144 ft), is in the Province of . The Patron saint is Assumption of Mary on August 15. Ercolano has San Vito as wards and the demonym of natives is "Ercolanesi".

In Ercolano there are 1 accomodation.. You may visit 9 places of interest.

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