Born in the archaic age and initially inhabited by an indigenous settlement, the city was later exposed to Samnitic, Greek, and Etruscan influences, up to the predominance of Roman civilisation, still today visible and in an excellent state of preservation.

Situated on a volcanic plateau, sheer over the sea, Herculaneum like the other cities of Vesuvius was submerged by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D., which buried it beneath a layer of debris measuring up to twenty-three metres in height.
The city was brought back to light during excavations conducted by the Bourbons, which started following a chance discovery in the area near the ancient theatre of Herculaneum. What remains of the ancient Bourbon tunnels testifies to the by-now outdated excavation technique by parallel galleries which, however, is a fascinating sight to observe. The excavations offer the visitor the possibility to observe the urban fabric, the distribution of houses, several of which occupy scenographic locations facing the sea, the magnificent baths complex, the sumptuous palaestra and the monumental basilica.

The perfect state of preservation of wood elements, bronze artefacts and, especially, of the facades of houses, offers a complete picture of residential housing, which enables the reconstruction of everyday life, the style of living, and the various styles of Vesuvian painting.

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