Monday, March 31

Uneducated Observations in Herculaneum

Or what happens when you don't hire a guide...

*WYNAG = Why You Need A Guide

Dad came over for a visit so I took him to visit the ruins of Herculaneum (Ercolano), much better preserved than Pompeii and much quieter (especially if you choose to go when it is forecast rain non-stop, hail and thunderstorms). We didn't hire a guide, some of the history we knew, and the rest? We made it up as we went along, much more fun...

Herculaneum was buried under 20 metres of ash from the AD79 Vesuvius eruption. (Fact)

The brick work is very intricate...must have been a wealthier town than Pompeii. (Guess, but checked it out and it is a fact.)
Public toilets!!! (Er, no, this was a type of tavern. Hot food was stored in jars built into the counter, hence the origin of tavola calda, a place to buy ready cooked meals.)

Incredibly well preserved wall paintings...
And a stunning mosaic with intact shells still around the edges.. (WYNAG 1: for more information than this)

Well, this is obvious it's a parking stop cars parking here, oh wait, there were no cars...maybe to stop horses and carts parking? (WYNAG 2)

There was actually an information board about this statue. It was found in many pieces scattered over the old beach area between 1942 and 1981 and eventually put back together. The experts reckon that it was hit full force by the first pyroclastic flow and blown to pieces.

While I was getting into the story of the statues recovery Dad discovered that it had a bolt up its bum....

Serious moment here please.. Below the statue are the old boat houses where so many people thought they would be safe but perished instantly in the intense heat of the collapsing pyroclastic flow.

Here we have a lady who doesn't seem to be bothered by the 3 naked men around her, she seems more interested in her toga...but wait...
What is the guy behind her doing to the poor bearded man? (WYNAG 3)
And another well preserved painting of a man about to fall off the edge...of something...while someone else does something...unexplainable....above him... (WYNAG 4)
By this point we were extra stupid from the ridiculously cold-for-the-end-of-March weather and decided that enough was enough.

So if you visit Pompeii or Herculaneum a guide is highly recommended. I know they are expensive, but try to group together with some other people at the entrance maybe and split the price.


  1. he was making him a eunich! Thank you for the tour! It was fun!

  2. Fun blog post, Nicki! I loved the WYNAG and humor. Totally with you on the value that guides give, especially at Pompeii and Herculaneum. If you ever need any suggestions for good guides, just drop me a line.

  3. Yeah, I didn't hire a guide either when I was there with Alexander - we had been to the MAV only minutes before and thought we knew enough. Wrong. I have a photo of that beautiful blue mosaic too, and no idea what it is.
    The museum was great though, highly recommended and even my then 8 year old son thought it to be very interesting!

  4. Thanks Nicki I appreciate reading your blog I can always learn.. I am still trying to perfect 'mrsfigstuff' I look forward to your posts each day on face book. cheers marilyn. Hayley was married last month suppose you have seen her pics..

  5. That is how we felt at il parco dei mostri in Bomarzo! I am still impressed with what you knew without a guide, and love the photos as always :)


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