Located in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, Herculaneum was an ancient Roman town destroyed by volcanic pyroclastic flows in 79 AD. Its ruins are located in the comune of Ercolano near Naples.

As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is famous as one of the few ancient cities that can now be seen in much of its original splendour, as well as for having been lost, along with Pompeii, Stabiae, Oplontis and Boscoreale, in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79 that buried it. Unlike Pompeii, the deep pyroclastic material which covered it preserved wooden and other organic-based objects such as roofs, beds, doors, food and even some 300 skeletons which were discovered in recent years along the seashore. It had been thought until then that the town had been evacuated by the inhabitants.

Herculaneum was a wealthier town than Pompeii, possessing an extraordinary density of fine houses with, for example, far more lavish use of coloured marble cladding.

History

Ancient tradition connected Herculaneum with the name of the Greek hero Heracles, an indication that the city was of Greek origin. In fact, it seems that some forefathers of the Samnite tribes of the Italian mainland founded the first civilization on the site of Herculaneum at the end of the 6th century BC. Soon after, the town came under Greek control and was used as a trading post because of its proximity to the Gulf of Naples. In the 4th century BC, Herculaneum again came under the domination of the Samnites. The city remained under Samnite control until it became a Roman municipium in 89 BC.

Architecture

The buildings at the site are grouped in blocks (insulae), defined by the intersection of the east-west and north-south streets. 

The most famous of the luxurious villas at Herculaneum is the Villa of the Papyri. It was once identified as the magnificent seafront retreat for Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus, Julius Caesar's father-in-law.The villa stretches down towards the sea in four terraces. Piso, a literate man who patronized poets and philosophers, built a fine library there, the only one to survive intact from antiquity.

The Central Thermae were bath houses built around the first century AD. Bath houses were very common at that time, especially in Pompeii and Herculaneum. Per common practice, there were two different bath areas, one for men and the other for women. These houses were extremely popular, attracting many visitors daily. This cultural hub was also home to several works of art, which can be found in various areas of the Central Thermae site.

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Address

Via Mare 38, Ercolano, Italy
See all sites in Ercolano

Details

Founded: 7th century BCE
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Italy

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Roldan de Guia (2 months ago)
The staffs were polite and they have good breakfast. However, the walls are not soundproof. The bed is smaller than i expected and the mattress was not comfortable. There are some mosquitoes in the room.
Dale Sartor (2 months ago)
• Terrific location • Great value • Clean and comfortable • Friendly and very helpful front desk staff • Terrace area is a nice place to gather and relax (drinks served by front desk staff) • A little noisy on the street side but worth it for the great view (entrance to ruins and ocean) • Great Neapolitan pizza across the street
mara Caldeira (3 months ago)
Big review but hopefully its useful. - I read in advance to booking some reviews saying that the pictures didn't match and i didn't take them seriously, however, the hotel is clearly in a much worse state than advertised. Dirty walls and furniture that clearly need maintenance. - the pipes are full of calcaire and clearly need maintenance, this made it hard to get the shower to regulate properly, either being boiling or freezing. - the cleanliness was okay (to be nice) the floor left our feet dirty and had some prior hairs. The towels for the bath had a smell like they were in a humid environment for weeks. - the rooms don't have a proper locking system so even if you are in the room, staff can enter. This wouldn't represent a problem if we had at least a "do not disturb" sign. Since there wasn't one we could hear the cleaning staff knocking on every door to check if they could enter. It left me wondering what would happen if we were taking a shower and couldn't hear them :) (or simply sleeping). - the location is very nice for visiting sites but it doesn't feel very safe, specially at night. - the parking is 10€ per night and its still some minutes walking, so not the best if you have heavy luggage. - the breakfast in our case was included but if it wasn't, i wouldn't pay not even 1€. You need to book the day before the amount of food you want and at what time. The first morning we went for the last time available and it was the worst experience. We had booked 4 small breads and not even one was left. The system of the breakfast is self service/ buffet and the staff only fills it in the beginning of the morning so if you book 1 bread for the last scheduled time, chances are that someone else ate it already. In our first morning we didn't even find cheese or cold meats, everything edible was gone.
Maria G (4 months ago)
Great Hotel opposite the Herculaneum ruins. If you’re happy to stay amongst the locals in a very traditional neighbourhood then this is ideal. The staff are wonderful and very helpful. A special thank you to Nico, Emanuella and Ana who made us feel very welcome. Our room was basic and overlooked a courtyard but when you get in after a scorching hot day out and the room has amazing air conditioning and a very comfortable bed that’s all you need. Our room was cleaned/tidied and towels replaced daily. Breakfast is limited when you’re used to a very wide variety like in UK hotels but it was enough for us and set us up nicely for our long days out. The communal areas of the hotel are lovely, they have a beautiful outdoor seating area with cute fairy lights as well as a lovely breakfast room. The breakfast staff were also very nice. The hotel staff are very happy to book trips and taxis which was very helpful for our stay. It is located about 20 minutes from Naples airport which is great and it is about a 10 minute walk to a train station that takes you into Naples City in about 20 minutes and to Sorrento in about an hour. Ideal if you enjoy travelling by public transport and if you’re looking for a cheaper way to get around. There’s a little Lido about a 20 minute walk through the back streets where you can sit and have a drink/ice cream or you can hire sun loungers and umbrellas to lay near the sea front. Across the road from the hotel is Rovi, a pizzeria that does the best pizzas. Umami Bakery Bistrot around the corner is also worth a visit, the staff are super friendly there and they do lovely food and delicious smoothies. This hotel was perfect for us! Thank you!
Matej Simončič (6 months ago)
AC did not work and sleeping at night with 35°C was impossible. They did compensate non working ac with free parking(10€) but its not in money its in service and if you got non working AC send guest to other hotel if you are "full"
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