The first time I learned about Pompeii and Herculaneum in school, I was around 8 years old. As my teacher was telling us about these entire villages being engulfed by lava, ashes and hot gases erupting from Vesuvius I was fascinated. Well, perhaps not so fascinated as it took me more than 30 years to actually get off my behind and visit Pompeii and Herculaneum.
Both sites are easily reached from Sorrento by the Circumvesuviana train. As the name suggests, it circumnavigates the majestic Vesuvius that dominates the countryside around the Neapolitan coast. It’s hard to imagine that something so stunning could have caused so much devastation.
What I liked about Herculaneum was that it was very quiet and serene. It’s not as popular as The site of Pompeii I guess, so the streets were very empty. It was lovely to wander around and peeping into the houses, public baths and courtyards, boasting incredibly colourful mosaics and murals. It’s mind-blowing to think you’re walking on mosaic flooring that’s over 2000 years old.
I took a breather at the Teatro Grande and its the portico behind it where artists and theatre-goers used to flaunt during the entr’acte.
Even though many of the marked sites, normally open for visitors, were closed for renovations, I didn’t manage to take in everything there is to see, which just leaves me with a very good reason to go back some day. I promise it won’t be in another 30 years though.