View Full Version : If you think you will like Pompeii, plan for time in Herculaneum!
May 27th, 2005, 02:47 PM
Our first visit to Pompeii was on a cruise in May 2003. It was at a time when travel to Europe was at a decline (the war). We visited Pompeii with two other couples and had hired a driver for the day. We spent two hours at Pompeii with a guide.
We did not appreciate the fact that when we visited in two years ago Pompeii was practically empty. This month, what a difference- early May but a LOT more visitors.
After awhile we tired of the crush and walked down to some areas which we did not get to see on our first visit- the Palaestra, Amphitheatre and other sites on the east side.
We'd purchased an all day Circumvesuviana pass and got back on the train after several hours in Pompeii and headed for Herculaneum- only wished that we would have planned our time more wisely! We only had about 3 hours at Herculaneum- wish we'd planned more.
The perservation and differences between Pompeii and Herculaneum cannot be described in words. The colors of the frescoes, the artifacts, the mosaics- there is so much recorded about Pompeii that I tended to put Herculaneum
on the back burner. It was magnificent- and a much more manageable- it is a smaller site. This may change now considerable as summer progresses and crowds increase.
We are hoping to return again in spring 2006 and this time will spend the entire day at Herculaneum- it is not worth missing if you know you like ruins.
May 27th, 2005, 02:52 PM
Thanks, Petoonya. We also visited Pompeii in 2003 and are planning to visit Herculaneum instead of Pompeii this summer. Anything specific we should know before we go?
May 27th, 2005, 04:05 PM
What timely info! We're on Splendour June 18 - 25 and were trying to decide on Pompeii or Herculanuem. This helped us make up our minds! Any other Herc info would be great! Sounds like you took the train yourself? Also were there guides near entrance and were they necessary/beneficial?
Thanks so much for the info!!
May 27th, 2005, 04:22 PM
We did Pompeii and Herculaneum during our July 2003 Golden cruise in the Med and really enjoyed both sites. We did Pompeii in the morning with a prearranged guide for 2 hours. It wasn't nearly enough time but we knew we would want to come back. Then we went to Herculaneum and spent about 2 hours there. Again the time could have been much longer but we were with 3 other couples and were trying to see as much as we could in one day. From there we returned to Naples and went to the Museum of Archeology there. That is where most of the best finds, jewery, pottery, glassware, frescos, statues and mosaics from both sites are actually displayed. Again we got about 2 hours there and again the time could have been much longer. We did this with a private driver and van. We also visited a great overlook of Naples where we got some great pictures of the Bay, the city and the Volcano. You could even see Capri way off in the distance.
If you get a chance to visit the Museum of Archeology in Naples and are interested in history and archeology of the region I think you will find it is worth the time.
IMHO you don't need a guide at Herculaneum. You get a guide with a map with your admissision and can buy relatively cheaply a book that describes the highlights and details of what you are seeing. If you want you can rent an audio guide, tape recorded, that you can get to wear and walk around the ruins. I did not notice guides available for hire at Herculaneum. At Pompeii we were told and from research found out that the guides there are supposed to be licensed and are tested for their knowledge before they can get their license and generally you needed to reserve time ahead of time with them.
One thing we noticed when we were there was it was much hotter in Herculaneum than in Pompeii. This is because Pompeii is out in the open where Herculaneum sits it what almosts looks like a quarry in the middle of the modern city of Eurculano (that may be spelled wrong). Because the ruins are in the middle of this depression, no breeze gets in and it gets very hot very fast. Be sure to take extra water with you when you go into it and expect to do a lot of walking and a little stair climbing to see some of the best sights, like the old harbor area and the baths.
Because Pompeii was destroyed by ash and pumice landing on it and collapsed the roofs there and Herculaneum was covered by a mixture of lava and mud that flowed into the town from the bottom up the two ruins are really quite different in character in spite of the fact that both were caused by the same volcanic eruption.
If you decide to visit both sites you can buy a ticket that offers a small discount, 2 or 3 euros, rather than paying the full price at both sites or at least you could in 2003.
Hope you have a great cruise and enjoy your visit these very historic sites.
May 27th, 2005, 06:16 PM
I concur with the poster above who covered the bases beautifully. We also had a full day in Naples and were able to visit the museum of archeology this time as well.
With just one day for many people it's a difficult choice in planning your day unless you KNOW you can return.
May 27th, 2005, 08:58 PM
I have a question please. We have visited Pompeii on an earlier cruise along with Sorrento and Capri. We took the ships tour and enjoyed every minute of it.This year we are planning to visit Herculaneum by train. If I decide to skip the museum in Naples,and I chose to visit Capri instead..can I get off the train in Sorrento and take a hydrofoil there for the afternoon? Would this take too much time? Am I being too ambitious? I think I would rather see the museum because I have never been there, but where would I get off the train in Naples for the museum. I have also heard that that area of Naples is not safe. Would it be best to return to the ship and look for a taxi? Any advice will be gratiously accepted!