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Pompeii or Herculaneum?

Old Jul 3rd, 2013, 10:29 AM
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Pompeii or Herculaneum?

Hi fellow Fodorites

Another new questions on my "Italian Holiday" planning........

If we only want to do either Pompeii or Herculaneum, but not both.....which one would you recommend and why? This would be done as a day trip from Positano. We will have a car. We also do not plan on visiting the Archeological Museum in Naples.......

Thanks again for all your past and future suggestions.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2013, 10:54 AM
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Try a search because I am sure this has been discussed before. I don't think the distance is much of a consideration, but size is. I considered both but it had to be Pompeii for me. I do hope you will reconsider seeing the museum in Naples if you can, because it is difficult to fully grasp the site without seeing the artwork.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2013, 03:56 PM
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here's a relevant thread:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...i-418743-2.cfm
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Old Jul 3rd, 2013, 04:15 PM
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I preferred Herculaneum. It is smaller, which is a consideration if it's hot and sunny (which it was the day I visited Pompeii), and in some places the second story is still present, which is a consideration if it rains (which it did the day I visited Herculaneum). Also, some of the frescoes are still in place, which gives you a better feel for living there. And there is Villa Oplontis nearby which is also well worth a visit.
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Old Jul 4th, 2013, 09:04 AM
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I spent a day in both when I visited Italy. I can't really recommend one or the other and I didn't really prefer one over the other either.

As discussed above and in that other thread, the most obvious difference is size... Pompeii is huge and requires a lot of walking, whereas Herculaneum is more compact but feels less expansive.

I think you're fine just going with whichever, and plan on doing the other in the future. I wish I hadn't done both in one trip since I was sort of on archaeological site overload especially after the other sites I visited in Italy!
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Old Sep 10th, 2013, 08:46 AM
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My husband and I are in sync on just about everything we are planning for our 3 week trip to Italy. Pompeii is not high on my list, but it is on his. If you (me) do see it, should we plan on at least 3 or 4 hours? Can you just do in sections? We will have a guide, but I've been advised it can be very hot and that it is quite a commitment to tour it. Will I miss out if I don't go?
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Old Sep 10th, 2013, 08:53 AM
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Pompeii no doubt IME over Ercolo - though Ercolo is neat it is tiny - a pit in the ground - Pompeii is a sprawling site - much more of interest and of course it is world famous - Pompeii for sure.
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Old Sep 10th, 2013, 09:01 AM
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>

I guess it depends on what you'll be doing instead of Pompeii and how will you feel when your husband has this experience and you can't share it.

I suggest going and if you really hate it you can sit in the cafe and wait for your husband but do give it a try.

At least 3 hours is my recommendation and it will be hot if you go between June and September. Wear sturdy shoes, bring lots of water, a hat or umbrella. This is no place for skimpy clothing - pants and long sleeves.

Not sure what you mean by "do it in sections," It's a large place and you have to visit section by section. You don't have to look at every thing and you can skip areas.
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Old Sep 10th, 2013, 10:28 AM
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You could go to Herculaneum (which is NOT a tiny hole in the ground, really!) and maybe the Villa Opodo while your husband did Pompeii. You will see a lot but you won't have to trek as far, there will likely be fewer people, and there will be SHADE.
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Old Sep 10th, 2013, 11:52 AM
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I definitely recommend Pompeii and it needs to be done with a guide. The guide we had made the whole thing come alive. We were with the guide for 2 hours after which we spent another tow on our own. Fortunately, we went on an overcast day in September so, if you will be in Positano for a while, try to plan your visit for a cloudy day. The whole experience was fascinating and you shouldn't miss it. If you can possibly fit it in, the museum in Naples adds to the experience.

While Hurculaneum is smaller, it is interesting but not on the same level as Pompeii, IMO.
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Old Sep 10th, 2013, 12:51 PM
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Ok Ercolo is not s small whole in the ground but a big whole in the ground - not much atmosphere being in a quarry-like place but yes it is significant but can in no way compare to Pompeii - missing Pompeii would be like going to Yellowstone and not seeing Old Faithful - there is NO comparison between the two - I have been to both several times and enjoy both - do both if you can - if you have to chose chose Pompeii.
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Old Sep 10th, 2013, 01:34 PM
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We did both and liked both but if I were to do one it would be Pompeii. Sounds like you really don't want to go there so my suggestion would be don't look at it as a tourist attraction. Try to really feel the place. Use the guide but then stand away from it all and try to realize what really happened and what is left behind. Try to imagine what those people experienced. That might make it a bit easier for you to visit. Herculaneum IMO was much more of a disaster because of how it happened.

So like I said just try to enjoy the experience. (sometimes that is hard to do with hoards of people)
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Old Sep 10th, 2013, 03:03 PM
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I appreciate all of these informative replies. Very helpful.
We will be there in mid-October, so heat will probably not be a problem at all. Sounds like I should do it. We have a lot of time for this trip, so, I should. I think Adrienne in her comment struck a nerve: no doubt my husband will be telling me how fascinating and incredible the whole thing was, and I will start regretting that I did not go. Thanks all!
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