Pompeii & Herculaneum

I love Mediterranean cruises and enjoy Naples and, quite aside from the gelato and pizza, enjoy visiting both Pompeii & Herculaneum.  I’ve visited both a couple of times, on MILLENNIUM, GALAXY, ROTTERDAM, ROYAL PRINCESS, PACIFIC PRINCESS, GRAND PRINCESS and RUBY PRINCESS.

Sunrise on the MILLENNIUM in Naples Harbor with Mt. Vesuvius looming over the city.

Sunrise in Naples

The greater Naples area lives under the threat of a future eruption of Vesuvius. According to experts, “The population density in some areas of high risk is 20,000 to 30,000 per square km. About 3 million people could be seriously affected by future eruptions. Vesuvius Erupting

In the first 15 minutes of a medium- to large-scale eruption an area with a 4 mile (7 km) radius of the volcano could be destroyed. About 1 million people live and work in this area. with over 1 million people coexisting with a live volcano. Like Volcan Baru, Vesuvius is a stratovolcano.” The thumbnail to the right is an Italian Air Force photo of the eruptions.

Herculaneum was buried under 75 feet (23 m) of ash deposited by a pyroclastic flow (volcanic fragments, crystals, ash, pumice, and glass shards) moving at speeds of 50 to 100 miles an hour. Herculaneum was a seaside resort town.



Pompeii was a commercial town. When Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D. Pliny the Younger witnessed the event from 18 miles west of the volcano and later recorded the event describing earthquakes before the eruption, the event itself, and the after effects including the tsunami that followed. The term “plinian” is now used to describe volcanic eruptions that generate high-altitude eruption columns and blanket large areas with ash. It is estimated that at times during the eruption the column of ash was 20 miles (32 km) tall and almost a cubic mile of ash fell in less than a day.

Pompeii Main Street

Archaeologists were able to identify empty spaces in the ash while excavating Pompeii. By injected these spaces with plaster they were able to produce plaster castes of citizens of Pompeii as they died, mostly from volcanic gases.


If you check out my Book List you’ll find the name of the book you should read if you are interested in the Vesuvius eruption. This computer generated graphic gives an idea of what that day was like in Pompeii.

Vesuvius Eruption

In the National Museum in Naples is the “Secret Room” – well, not so secret as thousands of cruise ship passengers cue up for a look inside. It is called the “Secret Room” because as many of the erotic treasures of Pompeii were excavated they were considered too risque for proper citizens to view and reserved for the titillation of museum curators. Even today children under 14 are not admitted without parental permission. It gets pretty explicit.

Here is a giant 3′ erection – an early street billboard pointing the way to a house of ill repute.

Naples Secret Room

Like Mc Donald’s the brothel in Pompeii had a picture menu, so you could just indicate your preference by pointing to the menu.

Brothel Menu

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