The ancient city of Herculaneum is indeed very well preserved, definitely more so than Pompeii. (Pompeii is much larger, however). Many of the structures still have intact roofs, and there are some brilliantly colored mosaics, wall frescoes, wall paint, and tile mosaic floors. The baths are a highlight of the ruins, as are some of the decorations in the house of various nobles. Definitely a worthwhile visit.
(If you are interesting in seeing a more
in-depth set of pictures of our visit to Herculaneum, click
In order to complete the picture, we decided to scale the cause of all of Herculaneum's destruction - Mt. Vesuvius itself. I'd done this easy trek before with Lorraine, but it is quite enjoyable and the day's clear weather promised good views.
It was a quite short 20 minute ride up a fun twisty road to the National Park of Vesuvius' summit trail parking lot (note: parking is free if you park just outside of the boundary of the parking lot). The trek up is a short 1 to 2 km walk up a steep but pebbly and dusty trail. Unfortunately, Jenn and I did not have the foresight to bring covered footwear. Let's just say our feet were well-exfoliated by the time we got back to the car!!
Vesuvius' summit crater, steep-sided as always, had a few lazy fumaroles to show that it was still a sleeping dragon. The view away over the bay of Naples was magnificent, if a bit hazy. The urbanized stretch of coast from Sorrento to Naples was clearly visible below us. Boy, if this volcano ever blows, a lot of urban area is going to be affected!
(If you are interesting in seeing a more in-depth
set of pictures of our visit to Herculaneum and Vesuvius, click
During our time on the summit, we encountered a couple of fellow Canadians that we'd met just a few hours before in Herculaneum. We stopped and chatted on how small the world was, and learned that they were students from Queen's University, only 150 km away from Ottawa! As we chatted about our respective sightseeing schedules, they mentioned their desire to see the Palace of Caserta, a nearby attraction I had heard bits and pieces about during my research of things to see on our trip. It was late in the day, and they, having no car, were about to give up on the idea of seeing the palace.
After a bit of pondering, Jenn and I decided that we too would like to visit the palace, and we invited our two new Canadian friends (Vicky and Alysha) to come with us, to which they graciously accepted.