The ancient town of Herculaneum, known mainly for the catastrophic eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D., is a unique treasure of artefacts found in the 18th century. Differently from the excavations at Pompeii, those at Herculaneum have fewer human remains but a huge variety of buildings, statues and objects whose state of preservation is excellent. This is mainly caused by the fact that the 16-metre-long blanket of pyroclastic materials that flooded the city has allowed the preservation of two-storey domus, inside which architectural elements in wood and marble, jewellery and furnishings, as well as many organic finds, have been discovered.
The skeleton house
This structure takes its name from the fact that human remains were found inside. A visit to the skeleton house is a must; it is a typical Roman house, with mosaic floors, corridors, a cave and a triclinium.
The Herculaneum Spa
The remains of the thermal centre also show murals, marbles and graffiti representing the scenes that took place in the building. Divided into two sections (one for men, one for women), the thermal centre is absolutely recommended on the discovery tour of the excavations. From the apodyterium (undressing room) with its typical niches where clothes were laid down, one enters the three thermal areas: the frigidarium (cold room), the apsidal caldarium (hot room) and the tepidarium, which features a splendid black and white mosaic representing a triton.
The mosaic atrium house
What makes this structure unique is certainly its flooring, decorated with geometric designs and stylised flowers. The residence also features a well-preserved fountain and colonnade.
The ancient theatre
Walking along an underground path, a magnificent example of a Roman theatre will appear before you. With its ten rows of steps, it could seat up to 3,000 spectators.
The burned boat
One of the most recently discovered finds is located outside the city centre. It is a burned boat, with some skeletons and an abundance of coins.
The House of the Augustals
Finish the itinerary with the House of the Augustals; a building with a quadrangular plan, a temple dedicated to the cult of Emperor Augustus. Particularly admirable are the magnificent frescoes, one of which represents the entering of Hercules into Olympus.