Why should you go to Herculaneum?

Herculaneum
Herculaneum

Herculaneum was a peaceful seaside town which was struck by a succession of pyroclastic flows during the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79. It was then covered with 20 metres of volcanic mud. Approximately one third of the town has been excavated. It is notable for the high standard of preservation of the houses and the public baths as well as perishable material such as wood, textiles and papyri. A significant number of high quality painted walls may be seen. The Roman sea shore has been exposed during the excavations and a Roman boat has been preserved in a special museum.

The Herculaneum Conservation Project has completed much commendable work on the preservation of the buildings and paintings within the town.

The Soprintendenza kindly provides both a map and a guide to Herculaneum. 

How to get there

Use the Circumvesuviana train service to go to the station named Ercolano Scavi.

Leaving the Station

View from station
View from station

On leaving the station you will find yourself in a small car filled piazza. The exit is diagonally towards your right. Beyond this exit there is a roundabout with a fountain and a broad road descends downhill, towards the sea, for about 200 metres. It ends at a T-junction. Proceed to the T-junction. Beyond the T-junction, immediately opposite the road that you have descended, is a large white gateway, proceed through the gateway to the excavations. The ticket office is approximately 100 metres beyond the white gateway. Basic maps and guides are available at the ticket office. There is also a bookshop within the site.

Travellers by car should locate the car park for the site which is to the south of the archeological site.

A summary of the train services is available.

 

The Ferrovia dello Stato alternative train service

The Ferrovia dello Stato is the state run railway and, at the time of writing, it is branded as Ferrovia with a lower case 'f' being the logo.

It is possible to get to Herculaneum from Naples (or Salerno) using the Ferrovia, the service runs from Campi Flegrei to Salerno and uses the Metro Line 2 for part of its journey. Whilst it is a long walk from the Ferrovia railway station for Ercolano to the excavations it has the advantage for those staying in Naples and close to the relevant stations that there is no need to change at Naples Garibaldi station. The service runs roughly every half hour but it is essential to use the timetable because some trains are omitted and sometimes there are three trains per hour.

A method of finding the train times is included in the trains section of this website.

On leaving the station at Ercolano you will climb a short flight of steps and see an apartment block directly ahead of you across a paved pedestrian area which is cut by two narrow roads. To the right of the apartment block is a stone wall with a fence on top. Follow this wall to the right, the pavement is on the opposite side of the street and, in a short while you will see the Bourbon Royal Palace across an extensive area of grass. Take the first left after the Royal Palace, the road is called Via Roma but the nameplate is not immediately visible being on the side of the road from which you are approaching. This road climbs steadily for a significant distance to reach a T junction at Corso Resina. Turn right onto Corso Resina and proceed slightly downhill until you see the white entrance gateway to the excavations on your right.

The author walked this route in June 2018 and took 22 minutes.

Last travelled

The author last completed the journeys described in June 2018.