I had never heard of Hercoleum nor do I ever remember it being mentioned in school when the eruption of Pompeii was discussed. I do remember the description of Pompeii and what was found, but not of Hercoleum, but my son did, from reading. Yeah reading!
Needless to say it was a must when we came to Italy. It is actually quite an interesting little town.
Hercoleum was a Greek town named after…. you guessed it… Hercules. It was eventually taken over by the Romans in 89 A.D.
When Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D. it left 20 metres of ash on top of Hercoleum. There was only 4 metres of ash on top of Pompeii.
Hercoleum was discovered first, but excavation was abandoned when Pompeii was found. Eventually Hercoleum was excavated and they discovered it was better preserved than Pompeii. There are still many buildings to be excavated in Hercoleum, including a coloseum.
It turns out that it was the intense heat – 250 degrees – that killed everyone, not suffocation or asphyxiation from the gases or ash. Hercoleum was worst off, as it is much closer to Mt. Vesuvius than Pompeii.
Getting to Hercoleum is very quick by train from Naples. Once at the town you must walk down the main street to the archaeological site – maybe a 10 or 15 minute walk, not long. As you enter the site you will pass a picnic area that only sells food from vendor machines.
To get into the actually old town you must cross a bridge. You realize how much the land has shifted. This site is much smaller and much easier to navigate but the ruins are incredible. Some of the homes look like you could move in.
The workmanship, the quality of life is very apparent. Words will not do it justice. I hope the photos will help.
Until next time… If would like to stay in touch please follow and we would love to chat.