Pompeii verses Herculaneum

Jun 18th, 2012, 06:50 AM
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Pompeii verses Herculaneum

If you had to chose only one to visit in 2012, which would it be?
Vicki_Huebler is offline  
Jun 18th, 2012, 07:21 AM
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Fra_Diavolo is online now  
Jun 18th, 2012, 07:34 AM
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How much time were you planning for your visit? Both entail a lot of walking - Pompeii is hugh and quite spread out, whereas Herculaneum is much more compact. We toured both last month (separately) and as much as I enjoyed Pompeii, I actually preferred Herculaneum. Thought it was better preserved. We rented the audio guide at Pompeii and thought it was helpful, but didn't feel the need for one at Herculaneum. Strongly suggest getting a good map at Pompeii, (that and a site booklet are available free from the booth directly across from where you rent the audioguide).

Enjoy your visit, whichever one you decide on.
Debs is offline  
Jun 18th, 2012, 08:39 AM
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How long is this trip? How many nights are you staying in Naples? Are you already cutting other places short?

Herculaneum is better preserved and smaller. It can easily be seen in half a day.

If I had to choose only one to visit, my decision would depend on many, many, factors. Starting with the questions above.
bardo1 is offline  
Jun 18th, 2012, 08:45 AM
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this is part of a private tour excursion from vessel transis... so I have to choice one and have not seen either.

I think the crowds will be more in Pompeii, but I have also heard so much about Pompeii that i would hate to miss it.

is there a amphitheatre and more outside columns / area in Herculaneum? or is it mostly houses and bathes?
Vicki_Huebler is offline  
Jun 18th, 2012, 09:31 AM
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No amphitheater for viewing in Herculaneum - from what I understand, it's still not been excavated. There is one in Pompeii, but quite a walk from the 'main' excavated areas (houses/baths). The pavement, understandably so, is quite uneven at both sites - comfortable walking shoes are a must!

There is also a cafe/gift shop(behind the Forum)at Pompeii - a great place to take a quick break/relax. Not the case at Herculaneum.

Tough decision since both are definitely worth visiting!
Debs is offline  
Jun 18th, 2012, 09:37 AM
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When are you going? If in the summer I would definitely choose Herculaneum over Pompeii because of the heat factor. Both sites are great. Choose one now and come back to see the other on another trip.

There are 2 amphitheatres at Pompeii. The large one is at the bottom of the hill, a good walk from where you enter. There is a smaller one abouth half way down the hill on the right.
adrienne is offline  
Jun 18th, 2012, 09:48 AM
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We did Pompeii and Herculaneum on the same day. It is a lot of walking and the paths are uneven. Pompeii shows a whole city, ruined. Herculaneum is much more preserved, still has whole houses and some of the whole wall frescos, and is smaller. It shows how things were with far less imagination. Significant parts of Herculaneum are yet to be unearthed, unlike Pompeii.

Although Pompeii is the classic touring site, Herculaneum may be the best bet for you. The real full tour is to see Pompeii, Herculaneum, and the Archeological Museum in Naples (which has the good artefacts). Not possible for a 1 day shore visit, of course.
AJPeabody is offline  
Jun 18th, 2012, 10:12 AM
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Thanks all you are all very helpful...

so how much time should we plan at Herculaneum to do it justice and still fit in the top pick for a private tour?
Vicki_Huebler is offline  
Jun 18th, 2012, 10:34 AM
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ParadiseLost on May 15, 11 at 05:31 PM �

Flame, Pompeii is a *complete* city within its own gated City Walls, sort-of a mini Rome.
Herculaneum is a small section of a smaller seaside town.

Herculaneum looks alot better preserved because much of it has been reconstructed in the Late 1920's-Early 1940's with the tourist in mind.

Andrew Wallace-Hadrill who if you watch any of the History Channels you have most likely seen has a new book out about Herculaneum. http://tinyurl.com/6zrl9rq (read this for more info on the reconstruction vs a preserved site)
Also he was the director of the 'Herculaneum Conservation Project' for 10yrs.

(His quote) "what we see is not an ancient town as preserved by an eruption, but fragments painstakingly pieced together, stabilized, reinforced and 'restored' by Maiuri".

He also writes about some Houses requiring 50% reconstruction and some scenes were staged for the visitor (like 'the shop' http://tinyurl.com/69yp2k7).

I *believe* I once read that a body was found in bed on a 2nd Floor (US), the oddity was the 2nd floor structure had survived the Pyroclastic Flow pretty much intact.

I've never seen any pre-reconstruction photos but I'd bet that all the roof tiles and roofs are reconstructed along with a good portion of the 2nd floors?

The *minimum* I would recommend for Pompeii is 4hrs.

But you can do a complete tour (audioguide plus on your own venturing) of Herculaneum in 2-3hrs.

My 1st choice is always Pompeii but Herculaneum in the AM and the Museum in the afternoon runs a close 2nd. Regards, Walter
ParadiseLost is offline  
Jun 18th, 2012, 11:29 AM
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Definitely schedule a visit to the Archeological Museum in Naples if time permits. This will enable you to fill in the gaps from the beautiful frescos you'll see bits and pieces of at both Pompeii and Herculaneum. This is definitely a world class museum. I would allow a *minimum* of 2 hours here, 2-3 hours at Herculaneum and 4+ hours at Pompeii. This will, by no means, allow for a very detailed visit, but at least an overview of life centuries ago.

We also had the opportunity to climb to the top of Mt Vesuvius, and it was amazing! Definitely a once-in-a-life time thrill.
Debs is offline  
Jun 19th, 2012, 11:20 AM
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I'll echo what everyone else is saying. If it's just one day and you want the experience of "The Big Show", go to Pompeii. Heck, you can even see the Lumpinara Grande and get some pics of the "menu". But, Herculaneum is so very nice and can be done in half the time and if you're interested right when you get off the train, to the left side before heading down the hill, is a place where you can get a ride up to Mt. Vesuvius. It's a little bit of a hike from the where they drop you off but it's absoultely beautiful up there and when you're done you can head down to Herculaneum.

I've done both so it's very hard to pick just one but if I absoultely had to, I would go with Pompeii over Herculaneum/Vesuvius. But, that's just me. I love the big city and all the different things to explore there. Good Luck!!
rywith22 is offline  
Jun 21st, 2012, 07:50 AM
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are two wonderful examples of the daily life of ancient Romans. Pompeii is bigger (the flow rate at the surface), has more business to see, brothels and baths .. Herculaneum is smaller, but retains many common objects, really interesting. You can still visit with a good guide that I could advise you on the same day.
Happiness79 is offline  
Jun 21st, 2012, 10:15 AM
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For Herculaneum, do just look through these two lists:

- places currently open there:


- and the ones that are closed:


Although I've not picked through either in any great detail, it's sad to see that - until their staff shortages are resolved - the lovely suburban baths can't be visited?


A_Brit_In_Ischia is offline  
Jun 21st, 2012, 05:22 PM
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"it's sad to see that - until their staff shortages are resolved - the lovely suburban baths can't be visited?"

Peter living in the area and having access to local news you would likely know.

Are the Baths really closed due to a staff shortage or are they using that as a bargining chip to hire more people?

My 3 visits were late 90's-mid 00's and it was only open in the mornings due to "no staff" as I was told by an employee I asked.

I found it odd that they would have an employee shortage in the afternoons but not in the morning unless they actually had half-day (~4hrs) employees?

My main reason for questioning this are my experiences in the Roman Forum after it became a free site and had a "staff shortage".

The main entrance still had a ticket seller and ticket collector sitting in the booth as did the other entrance by the Arch of Titus but the site was free.

And there are 3 other entrance/exits with no one stationed there so it couldn't be for security reasons?

Funny but true story; In the ruins between the Via Sacra and the Palatine Hill are the then closed-off House of the Vestal Virgins and some ruins.

I'm on top of the Palatine with binoculars and a telephoto lens trying to get a photo of the small bath of the Domus Publica (Julius Ceasar lived there and the bath is in his timeframe).

I see in these closed-off ruins a man moving about, he has a small wooden structure (think short outhouse) with a door and small hole window. Inside is a chair and small shelf (water & lunch on it?).

He goes back and sits inside. He is out of sight by everyone in the Forum inside a fenced-in closed site, guarding nothing and watching no one.

Now the moral of my story is; Near the Arch of Titus is the small overlooked by almost everyone Forum Museum.

A sitted employee/guard at the door and a guard in the 4 small interconnecting rooms of the museum both guards are needed.

The museum was 'hit or miss' as to when it was open back then.
But the front door guard was *always* there to say "Closed, no staff" of course just locking the door would have the same closed effect but then no one would hear the "no staff" supposed reason by the guard?

And the other Roman Forum guards (~3) would always hang together talking by a brick shack near the Curia only leaving for a w.c. break and never wandering around the site as they should.

I just found it hard to accept a staff shortage excuse when there are 4 people in ticket booths doing nothing and one hidden hermit in the ruins but no one to sit in a chair in a 4 room museum unless either the unions, the Forum site superintendent or both wished to increase staff by closing a site hoping tourist complaints would eventually change things?

The Suburban Baths are one of the high points of Herculaneum but closed-off due to the lack of a single guard? Regards, Walter
ParadiseLost is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2012, 01:43 AM
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Sorry Walter, lovely story as usual but you should contact them directly for answers to questions like those...

A_Brit_In_Ischia is offline  
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