Siena, Tarquinia and Herculaneum — October 22 – 23, 2019

On October 22 we departed Florence and headed southward. We stopped at a cemetery along the way that is dedicated to fallen USA soldiers from WW2. Later we stopped for a time in Siena.

The historic centre of Siena has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. It is one of the nation’s most visited tourist attractions, with over 163,000 international arrivals in 2008. Siena is famous for its cuisine, art, museums, medieval cityscape and the Palio, a horse race held twice a year in the Piazza del Campo, the shell-shaped town square which unfurls before the Palazzo Pubblico. [Wikipedia]

From Siena we continued on to the village of Tarquinia, where we spent the night at an AirBnB. On the morning of October 23, before leaving Tarquinia, we spent some time walking through the village.

Late in the morning of October 23, after walking through Tarquinia, we proceeded to the ruins of Herculaneum.

In the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, Herculaneum was an ancient Roman town destroyed by volcanic pyroclastic flows in 79 AD. Its ruins are located in the comune of Ercolano, Campania, Italy. Herculaneum is one of the few ancient cities to be preserved more or less intact, with no later accretions or modifications. Like its sister city, Pompeii, Herculaneum is famous for having been buried in ash, along with Stabiae, Oplontis and Boscoreale, during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79.  Unlike Pompeii, the pyroclastic material that covered Herculaneum carbonized and thereby preserved wood in objects such as roofs, beds and doors as well as other organic-based materials such as food. Although most of the residents had evacuated the city in advance of the eruption, the first well-preserved skeletons of some 400 people who perished near the seawall were discovered in 1980. Although it was smaller than Pompeii, Herculaneum was a wealthier town, possessing an extraordinary density of fine houses with, for example, far more lavish use of coloured marble cladding. After the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, the town of Herculaneum was buried under approximately 20 metres (50–60 feet) of ash. It lay hidden and largely intact until discoveries from wells and tunnels became gradually more widely known, and notably following the Prince d’Elbeuf’s explorations in the early 18th century. Excavations continued sporadically up to the present and today many streets and buildings are visible, although over 75% of the town remains buried.
[Wikipedia]

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