A JOURNEY INTO THE MYTH THAT IS CAMPANIA.
In camper, to discover Pompei and Ercolano.
All aboard the camper for an original journey, in direct contact with the most ancient history and nature. Be won over by the extraordinary beauty of the Pompei excavations and Ercolona, a world that is both very ancient and yet so close.
There are places that are so touched by myth and history that they seem to be timeless. This is true for this area of Campania, where the archaeological excavations reveal an immortal fascination. Where every stone reveals daily life based around squares, streets and houses that on the 24 August 79 A.D., came to a halt after the eruption of Vesuvius, to be covered in a blanket of lava to a depth of around 6 metres.
Pompei and Ercolano remained buried for 1,700 years, cancelled from the face of the earth. Protected from the ravages of time, everything remained intact, objects as well as animals and humans absorbed in their daily activities.
It is like travelling back in time, as you gaze upon pedestrians, wagons and vendors. A dream with your eyes wide open on board our camper.
IN CAMPER TO POMPEI AND OPLONTIS
A number of days is required for an extensive visit to Pompei, one of the most popular archaeological sites. Before setting off it's a good idea to plan your itinerary, find out about domus (Roman houses) that are open and book if required.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site along with Ercolano and a number of villas in Oplontis, Pompei is a magical exposed city. The Roman city, that rises upon the slopes of the majestic Vesuvius, should be explored slowly, as you lose your way amongst lanes, ancient dwellings and views to be captured for eternity: time does not exist in Pompei! Having crossed into the ancient city, you will soon realise that two hours speed by in an instant.
We cross over Porta Marina, so called because it is in the direction of the sea, and reach the administrative and religious area. This is dominated by the Foro, the fulcrum of civil and political life along with the public offices, the Macellum and two temples, in honour of Apollo and Jupiter, reached via a flight of steps.
From here we can explore the splendid Pompei residences, with their amazing frescoes painted in so-called "Pompei Red".
The House of the Tragic Poet is a luxurious residence embellished by a mosaic that reproduces the famous “cave canem” (beware of dog). Another splendid mosaic is conserved in the House of the Faun that extends over 300 m2.
The House of the Surgeon conserves ancient surgical instruments, now on display in the Archaeological Museum of Naples, whilst the House of the Gladiators hosted the valiant warriors. There are many other amazing houses, alternated with shops and inns. Every residence is a treasure waiting to be discovered and admired, but perhaps the most famous is Villa dei Misteri overlooking Via dei Sepolcri. It boasts an amazing pictorial decoration that captures the mythical cult of the god Dionysus. Then there is the Thermal Baths and the Theatre zone, areas dedicated to entertainment and fun.
It is a real delight to wander amongst the lanes of the ancient city, even though the excavations have unearthed only a part of the still-buried finds. These are treasures to be protected and safeguarded for the delight of future generations.
A not-to-be-missed site is Lupanare (where the prostitutes beckoned their clients with a wolf-like call). These are two-floor houses, composed of narrow rooms decorated with erotic frescoes, in which amorous encounters took place. A tour through these spaces is certainly different and interesting.
The visit to Pompei is imbued with emotion and magic. The city seems to be still alive and conveys an unforgettable sense of fascination. Using the chalk mould method it has been possible to reconstruct and identify the faces of men, women and children frozen by the eruption as they carried out their daily activities. These include two lovers, entwined in a heart rending embrace that has stood the test of time.
Near the Pompei Excavations is the famous Pontifical Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary of Pompei, a site for pilgrims from Campania and the rest of Italy. The majestic building, constructed at the end of the nineteenth century, is a highly spiritual site, testimony to the centuries-old faith of the Campania people.
A visit to nearby Oplontis, situated in the centre of Torre Annunziata is a must. This was also buried under the ashes after the eruption of Vesuvius. The ancient Roman city houses Villa Poppea, an ornate residence with splendid sculptures and paintings.
For nature lovers we suggest a visit to the National Park of Vesuvius. Here you can experience the delight of travelling over the natural paths, either on foot or by bike, that climb around the crater of Mount Somma. You can admire the lava flow of the 1944 eruption and enjoy a view that takes in the Gulf of Naples and the Sorrento Penisula.
ERCOLANO, BEAUTY UNDER ASHES
Attracted by the mild climate of Ercolano and the nearby coast, here the Romans constructed sumptuous dwellings. Lava and mud have conserved these precious dwellings almost intact. They often consist of two floors and are embellished by gardens, mosaics and valuable terracotta.
There is La Casa a Graticcio that takes its name from the construction technique, La Casa dei Cervi, the site of sculptures depicting deer being attacked by dogs and Casa Sannitica with a false portico, just to mention a few. Overhanging the sea, once stood Villa dei Papiri. Here highly elegant bronze, marble and papyrus sculptures have been unearthed. Of course excavations inside the archaeological area continue to this day, unearthing treasures of inestimable value.
Near to the archaeological excavations of Ercolano is theMuseo Archeologico Virtuale (Virtual Archaeological Museum or MAV) , an interesting site for young and old alike that delights all senses. A structure that offers both innovation and fantasy, here you can take a virtual voyage, enriched by multi-media installations, multi-sensory effects and 3D reconstructions that capture all the vitality of Vesuvius life: it's sounds, voices, sites and aromas. A dive into the past and the lifestyle of those who lived it. We then continue to the library of the Villa dei Papiri and the market. An interactive table allows you to explore the habits and customs of the population from this region. Through games and technology adults will rediscover their inner child in this evocative and fascinating area.
USEFUL INFORMATION FOR CAMPERS
We advise that you visit the cultural sites on the first Sunday of the month with entrance free for all of 2016. The initiative is organised by the Ministry for Culture and the Environment.
How to arrive by camper:
Those coming from the north should take the A3 Napoli-Salerno motorway, exit at Pompei Ovest. Those coming from the south should take the Pompei est exit. To arrive at Ercolano take the A3 motorway from Pompei and then Strada Statale 18.
Where to stay in a camper:
Close to the excavations: Camping Zeus, via Villa dei Misteri and Camping Spartacus, via Plinio 127. For Ercolano, the parking lot shared with cars is located at the entrance of the site, in Via Alveo. Otherwise you can stop at Portici near the equipped La Boutique del Campeggiatore area.
There are shuttle buses (payment required) for visits to the city or to reach the archaeological site.