Pompeii Herculaneum And A Hornet

Above From Herculaneum

A thing to know that the guide at the museum said 7 times and today’s guide said 12 times – the difference between the excavations at Pompeii and Herculaneum is that Herculaneum was engulfed in lava whereas Pompeii was buried under ash, pumice, and small stones. The lava protected Herculaneum but Pompeii was ravaged by treasure hunters. Of course it’s much more complicated than that!

We took the train from Naples to Pompeii and met the guide at the entrance to the site. The inset shows how Vesuvius looked before the eruption. There is so much conflicting information on the internet and even our two guides had different information.

I’ve been trying to find a good source and as usual wikipedia is pretty reliably updated with the latest research. For example for several hundred years the month of the eruption was believed to be August and now ‘everyone’ is certain it was October. Wiki has 8 long paragraphs telling the whole story yet if you google the date of the Vesuvius eruption you’ll see August all over the place.

So I’m going to let Wikipedia do what it does best and not just copy abstracts of the information you can get better directly, and updated, since I’m sure I won’t be updating this site with all the latest!

It’s a very large site and the guide said 40% of Pompeii is yet to be excavated.

The guide photo-bombed my picture! He was pretty cute though, and entertaining.

Interesting story, they had these at the museum too, how they made these molds of people who had died in the eruption.

Here’s someone else’s picture of the streets in Pompeii. The raised stones are so people can cross the street because the street was basically also the sewer. Those grooves are from the carriages.

An internet picture of the Pompeii archeological site, for some perspective. We were there for two hours and didn’t get through even a half of the streets.


We had a break in Pompeii for lunch and then the guide led us on the train, then the transfer, then the walk to the Herculaneum site which fronts the Bay of Naples. Here’s our first view, much smaller than Pompeii. Everything is in considerably better condition due to the protective lava (how that works? I do not know!). Even wood survived..

..and the fresco work is colorful and the detail visible…

..and the mosaics are AWEsome.

And it was here, at our last stop, that I learned that NO, I was NOT going to get to see the Villa dei Papiri! Oh man, I really wanted to see the Villa dei Papiri. The guide said it wasn’t open for visitors and even he has never seen it. Frommer’s says you can see it, some websites say maybe yes maybe no. Well, for me, it’s NO Not For YOU. Big Fat Bummer!


Remember how I said you could ask anyone in Naples “so, what is it with Diego Maradona?” and get an entertaining response? We went to OUR restaurant for dinner (perfectly FAB) after the long day of touring, and we asked this guy, probably one of the chefs, and he said nothing but thrust out his arm. Diego Maradona was no longer playing in Naples before this guy was even born. And I think the tattoo might be of Che Guevera because Diego has one that looks just like this one, and it’s Che!

Then we finally went home only to discover that Windy’s legs were a festering field of rash brought on by what she is sure was the bite of an Oriental Hornet she saw in Pompeii. I’ll not go on but add that the landlady of the flat where we are staying offered to call us a taxi and accompany us to the hospital. It turned out not to be necessary but how comforting to know she would.

Drum Rollllll Please The 1 1/2 inch Oriental Hornet!

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