Photo One: This is taken right when you hit the site – of you look closely enough/zoom the picture, you’ll notice a wall in the background which separates the modern city from the ruins.  And I’m sure you’ve noticed the fact that I seem to be looking down upon Ercolano.  I was.  Ercolano was buried under 30 meters of ash, so you do literally look down upon the ruins.


Photo Two: We walked through a tunnel made of ash in order to reach the city.  Today Ercolano is located several meters below sea level, so a water pumping system was designed to pump out the water that gets stuck down there.  We walked past it in the tunnel system.


Photo Three: Originally Ercolano was right on the sea front, however, because of the eruption, more ground pushed through and the sea was pushed out several hundred meters from Ercolano.  These are the boat rooms (?) were the boats were stored.  Also, another fun fact, when archeologists were excavating Ercolano, they couldn’t find any remains of anyone so they thought that perhaps everyone had escaped.  It turns out, when they got to the docks, there were hundreds of skeletons hidden inside these boat rooms.  The women and children had hid inside while the men had been outside.  But why skeletons instead of the corpses like Pompei?  Well, scientists believe that there was not just the one wave of toxic gas that hit Pompei, but there were several.  And unlike the one at Pompei (which also hit Ercolano), the other waves of gas hit Ercolano first and with much more severity.  Thus, they literally burned skin, killing people instantly and leaving behind only bones.


Photo Four: This is an original altar to a Greek goddess (I believe) that still remains.  (There was a gate over the door, so I stuck my camera through a hole in the wire to take this picture.)


Photo Five: Like Pompei, Ercolano had several (more) paint and murals left on the walls.  This is just one of the more vibrant walls that we saw.


Photo Six: I don’t really remember what this is for, but it’s pretty cool because this is the original of the marble engraving.  Some of the marble engravings at Ercolano are in museums, but this right here is the real thing.


Photo Seven: We stopped by another bar, but, unlike in Pompei, this one is a) either better decorated or b) more well preserved.  But I would go for better decorated because Ercolano seemed like it was a richer place than Pompei was (especially because they had a sewer system here).  I just really like the marble system on the bar.


Photo Eight: There were many mosaic designs on the floors that were left.  This here is one from a house, but the ones in the bathhouse were amazing – they had designs of Greek gods/goddesses and other figures and patterns.  Even some of the sidewalks were littered with small marble pieces.


Photo Nine: Another reason why Ercolano was so much cooler than Pompei – this right here is an almost complete, very detailed mosaic that survived the earthquake, toxic gas, ash, and lava.  Pretty cool, huh?


Photo Ten:  This mosaic is in the same room as the other one (from above) and just as cool.


Photo Eleven:  A little outside view of one of the buildings.  As you can see, while the earthquake did some damage, parts of Ercolano were strong enough to withstand the force.


Photo Twelve: Another cool fact about Ercolano is the carbonized wood, not found in Pompei.  This is a sliding door (pretty much completely whole, I just photographed one side).  There were also beams, railings in one of the buildings, and shutters/a window that we saw.


Photo Thirteen: I’m not sure what this is either, but it seemed like a pretty cool view to me.


Photo Fourteen: One more outside glance of Ercolano from above, with a perfect shot of Vesuvio in the background.

After going to Pompei, we headed to Ercolano, a smaller site that had been hit by the same eruption of Vesuvio.  This site was much different and my favorite.  Only a small portion of the ancient section is actually excavated completely, the rest lies beneath a modern city, though archaeologists have built some tunnels to look at other ruins.  It was much less touristy, perhaps because it is less known than Pompei (but way cooler).  We also had more access to buildings and ruins because it is in much better condition than Pompei is in.  As with my Pompei post, I have described each picture a little underneath the picture just to give a little more information.  (taken 3.10.2014)