Herculaneum & Vesuvius Oct 19

It seemed to us that modern Herculaneum is covered, like most of what we saw of urban southern Italy, by a lot of graffiti.


Kind of liked this street name:

And then we found it…

And it was amazing that anyone found anything here. The town was well buried, beneath another town. This is the depth of lava they had to dig through to find what was buried.

The streets of Herculaneum, unlike those of Pompeii, did not run with odure. They were straight and clean

because householders could empty waste into the drains. The drains are in such good shape here there’s a whole field of study around them.

A 2000 year old bed

and the corner of another one:

And some 2000 year old rope. For some things, surprisingly little has changed.

The baths, in good condition: benches still in place…

and a beautiful floor.

More amazing wall paintings…


and mosaics

Had time to notice the interesting labels on the recycling bins near the mini-bus service to Vesuvius.

We had a swift and occasionally alarming ascent up to the summit of Vesuvius. It’s about a 20 minute drive followed by a 20 minute or so walk up the trail to the top.

Helpful signpost.

Hard to know whether the inside or the outside of the path felt safer!

Rewards are many and heavy if you make it to the top. Or even nearly to the top. There were at least two souvenir stands up there. The local wine, Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio, is made, so they say, from the many vines growing on the slopes of Vesuvius and is named for the emotion Christ felt upon noticing the beauty of the Bay of Naples while he was ascending to heaven… or else for the tears Christ shed when Lucifer grabbed a chunk of heaven and threw it into the Bay of Naples. Or something. Anyway, we tried the red one night and found it a nice southern Italian wine, dark and mineral.

Big, big hole.

Still smoking. Quick visit.

We zoomed down the hill again in our mini-van. Front seat passengers later revealed that the vehicle had no working speedometer (pah, who needs that??) and we’d already figured out there were only four working seatbelts… lucky for us there were only four passengers. Nobody was brave enough to point out to the driver what that ‘no passing’ sign meant as he had clearly decided it was not relevant to drivers in a hurry. However, we were under the protection of the caped crusader, so no harm befell us.

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0 Responses to Herculaneum & Vesuvius Oct 19

  1. leah fritz says:

    Was there a sciopere (sp?) on the train that made it take so long? I remember going from Milan to Bologna (sp?) on a 4-hour train trip because of a strike or work-to-rule. Hair-raising, nail-biting, but fun because of lots of Italian school kids and the warmth of the people.
    We miss you in London.

  2. Rhona McAdam says:

    Actually no sciopero — it was just a regular milk run which lost half an hour somewhere between Rome and Turin (I think I found it under one of the seats at Terra Madre this weekend!)

    I miss London too, and all who dwell there. But as cities go, I am also loving Turin which is somehow French but totally Italian, and looks rather grand and beautiful even in these mostly grey days.