Naples Stories and Tips

Imperial College

Hercules with... Photo, Naples, Italy

Herculaneum had a college! One of the last buildings in the excavated area before modern day Herculaneum begins is the Imperial College or College of the Augustans as its sometimes called. In this area, there is evidence that the roads were restricted to pedestrian traffic. Close by is the basilica or judgment seat and the Forum (which is mostly still unexcavated) is also right around the corner. All these areas together would have comprised the heart of the city and it is a shame that excavations are not ongoing. The modern day Herculaneum people who own the homes close by wish to keep their homes!

The Imperial College has one of the largest rooms in the city. The ceiling of this room is supported by four strong columns. All around the room are beautiful and detailed paintings most of which are surrounded by red paint. One of these paintings is of Hercules with Minerva and Juno. Another is of Neptune with Aimone and Amphitrite. There are charioteers and dancers in pictures as well. One wonders how the students studied in such distracting areas.

Our guide who who leading us through the city told us to go on in this building while he held the door open. We were stopped cold by the incredible walls. Our guide chuckled to himself as he knew what we would find in there and I think he enjoyed our surprised Oooos and Ahhhhs! We had only allocated a morning for Herculaneum and that simply was not enough time. We''re going back in Oct. of 2003 for an entire day at Herculaneum and that is the amount of time I would recommend if you can spare it. This is an amazing archeological treasure that gets passed over for it''s more famous sister city in destruction Pompeii, and that is unfortunate. Herculaneum contains treasures unlike anywhere else.

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