Archaeological Itineraries – Pompeii and Herculaneum

Posted on 20 Gennaio 2009 by admin


Majestic and menacing, Vesuvius still dominates the Neapolitan landscape. From the Eighteenth century onwards travellers have been prepared to tackle the climb up to the top in order to admire the panorama and look down into the crater. There is no better starting point to begin a journey through the history and culture of Campania.
A journey which takes us back in time, as far as that 24th of August in 79 A.D. when Vesuvius ‘put on a show’ with a devastating eruption which buried Pompeii, Herculaneum and Oplontis.
The rediscovery of the places that were victims of the wrath of the volcano came about almost by chance. In 1709 the prince d’Elboeuf, was having a well dug in his Vesuvian residence, when he came upon the remains of the theatre of Herculaneum. From then on, researches were made which brought to light an archaeological, artistic and historical heritage of inestimable value, which every year draws millions of visitors.

Being an important commercial centre in Campania felix, played a strategic role in the redistribution of goods between Rome, the inland cities and the ports on the Mediterranean. The life of the city centred around the Forum. Still today one can admire the remains of the Basilica, seat of justice and chamber of commerce, religious buildings and the Macellum, site of the marketplace. From the main square streets lead off to the ancient city, revealing majestic houses, such as the House of the Faun and the House of the Vettii, with their splendid frescoes. The shops in via dell’Abbondanza, offer a lively impression of everyday life two thousands years ago. From here we carry on to the Stabian Baths, the oldest public baths in Pompeii, ending up at the massively impressive Amphitheatre, where even today, as in the Large Theatre, there are concerts and theatrical productions.
Just outside the city, stands the Villa of the Mysteries, the most ‘enigmatic’ monument in Pompeii, with its grand fresco celebrating the mysterious cult of Dionysus.
In summer the ruins can also be visited at night. ‘Suggestioni al foro’ is a theatrical production which, through sounds and voices echoing around the temples and houses, recreates the atmosphere of the ‘lost’ city. The visit ends with a multimedia show which reconstructs the dramatic phases of the eruption with special effects and filmed images.

Pompeii and Herculaneum Related Links:
Pompeii – Herculaneum Tours & Excursions

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