Wednesday, December 10, 2008


These pictures are from our excursion to Pompeii's sister city Herculaneum. Unlike Pompeii which was buried under ash and lava, Herculaneum was covered in a massive layer of volcanic mud, which led to an even better state of preservation that at Pompeii.

This is a shot of the volcano across the Bay of Naples.

This is part of the city of Herculaneum.

A shot from inside the city. The grass, shrubs, and trees gave it a much more lifelike appearance. Looking at this picture you almost expect to see a rich Roman walking along under the portico.

The droppings of pigeons and doves which congregate on the ruins end up making a mess of them, so here is one of the solutions to keeping them away. This falconer patrols the grounds with his bird, daring any pigeons to perch on the ruins.

A picture of one of the roads leading to the center of the city.

Underneath the city was the sewer, which you can see in this picture.

A beautiful mosaic in a niche.

A shot of a bar, similar to the ones we saw in Pompeii.

A shot of us and our guide.

One of the rooms in the baths. Note the fluted ceiling designed to trap condensation from the steam.

This wonderfully-preserved fresco depicts Hercules. It is located in one of the main villas.

Another part of the villa, complete with more frescoes. Take a look at the carbonized wooden beams protruding from the wall.

A closer picture of some of the wooden structure of the villa, now completely carbonized.

These marble chips in the road acted as reflectors, illuminating the street for passersby by reflecting the light of the moon at night.

A wine shop, offering four types of wine. The prices are written beneath the jugs.

The atrium of another house.

As you may have read, the swastika was an ancient symbol used by many cultures throughout the world, long before Adolf Hitler came to power. Here we see it as part of the mosaic floor in this house.

A merchant's storeroom. You can see amphorae stacked in original wooden holders, and on the floor jugs which would have held oil, wine, and the fermented fish sauce common to the era.

The beautiful mosaic of Neptune and Amphrite. It looks 3-D but it's really not.

Another mosaic in the same area.

Some of the ancient lead plumbing, still visible.

This was another large villa, very sumptuously decorated. The rooms to the side were bedrooms.

An original bed frame, charred, but for the most part intact.

Some original rope, again, charred but intact.

On this wall you can see the classical style of brickwork using blocks of tufa embedded at 45 degree angles. The same method was used at Pomepii, and Ostia Antica in Rome. You can also see the original metal grates in the windows, and the carbonized lintels above them.

After leaving Herculaneum we drove up to the National Park near the cone of Vesuvius. A shot of the volcano in the distance.

Andrew and Augustin hunting for bits of lava on the mountainside.

We stopped on the way home to get some wood-fired pizza.

Mmmm, look at that bread!