Visitor and background information for the ruins at Herculaneum (Ercolano).
This is tickitaly.com's information page for the ruins, remains and excavations at Herculaneum (Ercolano), one of the many attractions covered by the Pompeii and Vesuvius area pass (booking link). We also offer direct, skip-the-line access to the remains at Herculaneum here.
From the 1st of April until the 31st of October the site is open every day from 8.30 AM until 7.30 PM with the last entrance being allowed up to 6.00 PM. For the rest of the year the site closes at 5.00 PM with the last entrance being granted at 3.30 PM. These are the same hours observed at the Pompeii site.
Your Pompeii pass allows full entrance to all of the ruins of Herculaneum and counts as a single entrance, just one of the 12 places covered by your pass. Ercolano is on a much smaller scale than Pompeii and takes much less time to explore; many of the structures and artworks are less damaged than those of Pompeii.
Less famous than its neighbour Pompeii, Herculaneum (Ercolano) was destroyed in the same volcanic eruption of August 24, AD 79 but is generally preserved in a far better state and gives a clearer idea of the form of the ancient Roman town. Damaged far less by the weight of falling ash from Vesuvius, the buildings were quickly engulfed by toxic gas and boiling mud which as it solidified prevented their collapse. Subsequently sealed under an airtight layer of volcanic rock, the partially excavated town now offers a unique insight into Roman life, with many buildings still with upper stories intact and frescoes and mosaics in an excellent state of preservation.
It is thought that the first civilisation on the site of Herculaneum was founded around the end of the 6th century BC by forefathers of the Samnite tribes from the Italian mainland, after which it came under the control of the Greeks who due to its position on the gulf used it as a trading post. Dominated again from the 4th century BC by the Samnites until its participation in the Social War, it was then defeated by Titus Didius, legate to the Roman general Lucius Cornelius Sulla, and became a Roman municipium in 89 BC.
Discovered by accident nearly 1700 years after the eruption, Herculaneum has still not been fully excavated with only about a quarter of the nearly intact remains uncovered so far and many of the important public buildings still to be brought to light from under the dense layer (up to 25 metres deep) of volcanic 'tufa' covering the site.
Allow a couple of hours for a good look around and wear some sensible shoes!