Naples: Herculaneum and Pompeii

Naples has always been on our radar as a place we would love to visit. Having learned and been drilled on the historic significance of pyroclastic flows since grade school there was no reason not to make the trip to see the city for ourselves. The trip turned out to be an excellent day trip through Herculaneum and Pompeii, two of the most significant city ruins when thinking about cities under the shadow of mount Vesuvius. Here are some of the shots we took of our time in the two cities, although we started our day relatively early (8 am) we still didn’t have enough time to see Pompeii in its entirety. If you’re ever in Naples be sure to consider Pompeii as a day trip, you won’t be disappointed! Also check out our post on visiting Italy on a budget which outlines how you can stretch your dollar to maximum potential.

Leaving Milan we took a train to Naples and went on a day trip to Herculaneum. We arrived at the city and were amazed by the ancient ruins

Reading about Herculaneumm in textbooks doesn’t compare to see it in person, if you want to talk about getting real about volcanic eruptions, look no further than this city. There is something to be said about visiting the remains of a historic site of destruction, whether that be a natural disaster or human created. Every moment in our trip we wanted to be present, and this moment helped us consider the historic context of the cobblestone path we walked on. Stepping out onto the same balcony many wealthy Romans spent their last days was worth every set of stairs we had to climb to get there.

These buildings were buried in the eruption of nearby Mt. Vesuvius
The city of Herculaneum was once a vacation destination for nobles
Herculaneum fresco
Buildings and walls were covered in a thick layer of ash and soot resulting in excellently preserved friezes
These roman columns once held a roof that provided shade in the courtyard
We wandered around the ruined city because there was no English map to be had for free
Herculaneum skeletons
Skeletons were excavated long after the discovery of the city and many were discovered in the boat docks. The residents were presumably waiting for rescue when they were buried alive
Herculaneum and Mount Vesuvius
We could see Mount Vesuvius in the distance
We arrived in Pompeii and were greeted by modern art sculptures that dotted the ruined city
The cast of a body was made of a person in their final moments
Unfortunately, even dogs were not able to escape the flow of hot ash from the mountain
Pompeii theater
The ruins include a theater, films are projected for viewing from the stadium seats
Pompeii amphitheater
The amphitheater is still used and ancient looking structures that look unstable are actually outfitted with modern toilets
Garden of the Fugitives
“Garden of the Fugitives” preserves human remains in the position that they were discovered
Pompeii sunset
As the sun set on our adventure in Pompeii it was time for us to head back to Naples
There was so much to see in Naples
Castel Sant'Elmo
We hiked up a path to the Castel Sant’Elmo with a birds eye view of the city
Castel Sant'Elmo
On our way up we couldn’t help but admire this dog in the window
Castel Sant'Elmo
Mount Vesuvius still dominates the skyline like it did thousands of years ago
Castel Sant'Elmo
Thankfully we didn’t miss these grapes that were growing on the path up to Castel Sant’Elmo
Castel Sant'Elmo
We had to try one as they were too tempting, the grapes were incredibly fresh and tasted nothing like the grapes we find in the states