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Herculaneum - Italy

Herculaneum Ruins Herculaneum Ruins and modern townHerculaneumMosaic Floor, HerculaneumMosaic, Herculaneum

Herculaneum is a few miles closer to Naples than Pompeii and was buried under lava in the same eruption that destroyed Pompeii. The excavated ruins here are a lot smaller, but in much better condition.

Some of the houses retain upper stories as well as porticcoed entrances and even some of the wooden door lintels have survived. There are loads of mosaics and frescoes in the private houses, but nowhere near the number of public buildings as Pompeii. The bath house is very well preserved with vaulted ceilings and some very detailed mosaic flooring.

The ruins of Herculaneum are surrounded by the new town, and extended for some way under the foundations of many of the shops and houses, so the true extent of the original Roman city is difficult to tell. The ruins here don't have as much of an impact as Pompeii - the scale is much smaller and location not nearly as good - but still provide a fascinating glimpse into Roman life. It may be better to visit here first - Herculaneum is much quieter than the popular Pompeii and provides a good introduction to the ruins of the area.

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