Antiquity relives its old splendour in the remains of two of the most famous cities of the ancient world: Pompeii and Herculaneum.
The house of the Fauno
The house of the Faun is the largest Roman dwelling ever reached us with its 3000 square meters. The house takes its name from the statue of the Fauno, Roman divinity of the woods and nature, found at the centre of its impluvium, probably belonged to a rich Roman patrician. The house is an obligatory stop in the visit to Pompeii, a stone's throw from the forum entering from Porta Marina, surrounded by large green spaces, the structure is characterized by multiple entrances that divided the private wing from the public one.
The centre of the house was embellished with the mosaic, now preserved in the MANN - National Archaeological Museum, which represented the victory of Alexander the Great over Darius king of Persia.
The Villa of the Mysteries
The Villa Dei Misteri is one of the most famous buildings of the archaeological excavations of Pompeii even if it is outside the excavations themselves. Its size and location outside the city suggest that it belonged to some wealthy patrician family or even to the wife of Emperor Augustus, Livia, of whom a statue has been found.
The building owes its name to a series of frescoes that archaeologist found inside of which the meaning is not yet known. The fresco represents the preparation of a woman in a sort of cult or religious rite, for some Dionysian, others believe it is only a marriage ritual, and inspire great awe in those who visit these rooms.
The house has many rooms decorated with scenes of everyday life and in which archaeologist found many bodies of people intent on their activities before being enveloped by the impetuousness of Vesuvius.
Herculaneum has a less impressive archaeological heritage than that of Pompeii, as much of the city is still kept under the new Herculaneum, but despite this, it gives us beautiful evidence of the Roman city of two thousand years ago.
There are many things to see in Herculaneum, let's discover them together.
Sacellum of the Augustus
The Sacellum of the Augustus is a type of Roman temple used for the veneration of human gods or emperors. A square-plan building that housed the college of august.
Inside this chapel, buried under many layers of lava, the statues of some deities, such as Apollo and Venus, and many emperors including Vespasian and Titus have been found. On the walls of this chapel, there are two splendid frescoes of the legendary hero who gives the name to the city itself, Hercules: one representing the entrance of Hercules into Olympus accompanied by Jupiter, Juno, Minerva, the other depicting the struggle of Hercules against Acheloo. Inside the sacellum, there was the skeleton of the still sleeping custodian.
The arches are the arch-shaped warehouses that were in the port of the city of Herculaneum, often used as deposits for boats and related. In 1980, around 300 human skeletons were in these premises intent on seeking shelter from the eruption of Vesuvius in 79.
Among the remains found several precious objects and coins, a sign that they fled with all their belongings from the city. Also, a legionnaire's sword and a 9-meter boat were found.
Virtual archaeological museum
Inside the Herculaneum Excavations, there is the MAV, Virtual Archaeological Museum. Through technology, it is possible to achieve a real journey through time, wherewith three-dimensional reconstructions and particular installations, visitors will be able to rejoice and observe what the city was like in Roman times.
There are almost more than seventy multimedia installations that will give you suggestive images not only of Herculaneum but also of Pompeii and Stabiae.
Best way to visit Pompeii and Herculaneum
The best way to visit Pompeii and Herculaneum is in comfort. These archaeological sites are very large and it takes a good dose of time and energy to see them in their entirety. If you want to visit both sites, you have to take into account the distance between them and the time it takes to travel from one site to the other.
In short, the advice is to plan your visit well in order to avoid any inconvenience or, to be on the safe side, to rely on someone who can organise the visit and travel for you.
In terms of things to see, however, introducing you to the grandeur and beauty of Pompeii and Herculaneum, in a few lines, it is impossible. Imagine having to visit a whole Roman city as large as a contemporary town, knowing however that every corner is two thousand years old and could hide indelible signs of lives from thousands of years ago, for this reason, I have listed only the cornerstones of these places, which deserve a wide and vast visit on your part.
Then rush to Pompeii and Herculaneum and travel a journey of over two thousand years in time.
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