There are a few ways to Access the Ercolano’s ruins. For me, because it was easier and because I was around the area, I went by car. Through the A3, from Naples it is really close. Within 20 min (no traffic) you can get to the ruins. There is a huge parking lot which I had to pay 6€. For the ones who do not have car and you are at Naples o Sorrento, there is a train called Circumvesuviana which goes through these two cities with final destination Ercolano-Scavi. Once there, I bought the ticket called “5 siti” for 22€ and it includes acces to Pompeii, Ercolano, Oplontis, Stabia and Boscoreale for three days.
Corso Resina, 6 Ercolano
Telf: (+39) 081 7324338
Based on my travelling tastes, Ercolano has been unfairly eclipsed by Pompeii. I am aware that these ruins are one of the most important in the world. However, Ercolano deserves to be more known across the globe than it currently is.
Because of its size, its location, its hard history and some of the images I will never be able to remove from my memory, made this small city get to my heart.
Studies show that the city originally measured about 20 hectares. Today, only 4.5 of those have been discovered and not all of them can be visited and accessed by tourists. Moreover, several public and residential buildings are banned from accessing.
The city was built at the Vesuvian’s feet, on a hill with origin volcanic that fell towards the sea. From east to west, it was delimited by two rushing waters. Two small bays of river origin allow its citizens to have natural and safe ports. In fact, during the Romans, the city was one of the best places to spend the summer for the richest families of Rome.
Even thought the city suffered an earthquake in 62 AC, Ercolano’s history cannot be explained without mentioning the Vesubian.
The Vesuvian’s eruption taken place on the 79th year AC was one of the most important and cathastrophic volcanic eruptions ever. It affected the whole area located around the Napols Gold, including cities like Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplontis or Estia, which were completely destroyed. The Vesuvian created a mortal rocks cloud, ashes and smoke at 30km of height and it also created a huge lava expension which liberated more termal energy than the Hiroshima attack.
This natural fact deleted Ercolano from the face of the earth. It was buried about 16 meters, which allowed a phenomenon of conservation that was not given to Pompeii, for instance. It fossilized it and this fact led to the discovery of furniture and clothing in almost perfect conditions.
Unlike the citizens of Pompeii who died buried by ashes; Those of Ercolano did it through the cloud of toxic gases. They tried to get away with boats, but the volcano was faster than them and they had to protect the bays. In this way they avoided lava, but they did not manage to avoid the gases. This is the image that I will never catch on my head: all those skeletons terrified and desperate people who died touching each other.
It is essential to hire an audio guide and request a map at the entrance, since It is the only way to really know the story and be able to understand the visit. I visited the park in just 3 hours and covered the whole of it.
One of the first stops is the viewpoint from where you can see a large part of the ruins and the current city in the background. I found an interesting contrast. Immediately I went down to the "Casa dello Scheletro". I knew that was what marked the difference with Pompeii and I wanted to see it first and foremost. I was very impressed With the spooky image of the skeletons in front, I went through several stages: silence, goose's skin, observe everything, comment and, when you are aware of the magnitude, then you take the pictures. I did not want to leave without having the immortalized memory. Honestly, I think that only for this is worth the visit to Ercolano. The rest of debris can be seen in more quantity in Pompeii; but that left me astonished.
I also really liked the “Ara di Marco Nonio Balbo”, the “Casa del Rilievo di Telefo”, the "Casa dil Gran Portale" and the "Vestibolo della Palestra".
Visit that does not leave indifferent.
The visit can take as long as you want. It depends how deep you want to go with the story of the place or even the time you have to visit the place.
It is a good history lesson for everybody. Also for the child. But the "Casa dello Scheletro" can be so hard for them.