Thursday, October 11, 2007

Herculaneum - 4 October 2007

Wall mosaic

Original window grille and re-inforcingResidence La Nuova Arca was quite close to the ring road around Bari so we were on it and away from the city in short order. After miles of fairly flat, featureless, terrain alongside the regional road we wended our way though the pass in the mountains to the Neapolitan side of the Italian peninsula. Suddenly the roads were busy and the number of houses and towns increased dramatically. Wall panelWe decided to abandon the by-ways and head for the autostrada, to close the distance between us and Naples, and to get us through Naples and on our way south to Herculaneum, our destination for the day.

Vesuvius broods over HerculaneumThe cobbled streets around the archaeological site are a much better speed control than all of England's speed cameras. We eventually found the site and stepped back to 79AD. The two and three story dwellings that they have unearthed so far below the current ground level are quite amazing. There are remarkable mosaics on the walls and floors and the amazing thing is that you are able to walk on many of these floors.

Original shelves with wine jarsOriginal wood, instantly charcoaled, is in evidence all around the site in beams, floors, stairs, shop shelves, room partitions and so on.

Leaving there we headed on down the coast to Boscoreale taking our lives in our hands on the narrow streets as we diced with on-coming traffic, motor-scooters with no concept of speed limits or right and left and cross traffic that seemed to ignore road rules. (Perhaps there are none?)

Casa d'ArgoThe museum at Boscoreale has many artefacts that have been recovered form the archaeological digs and fleshed out some more of the lives of the residents of the houses at Herculaneum.

Back into the mad Italian traffic, we headed for Sorrento, finding our accommodation on the first try thanks to a huge sign announcing their existence - just the sort of thing a visitor requires.

Sorrento sunsetThe Hotel Angelina at Sant’ Agnello, is a quiet and tranquil spot well away form the mad-cap traffic of the Naples to Sorrento road.

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