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Most visitors to Italy have Pompeii on their must-see list, and with good reason. But Pompeii isn’t the only important archaeological site in the area outside of Naples - and some consider the smaller excavation at Herculaneum to be more interesting and a better visitor experience. Luckily, you don’t have to choose - you can visit both easily in a day.

Herculaneum, like Pompeii, was buried by the 79 A.D. eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. Unlike Pompeii, however, Herculaneum was actually more preserved than destroyed by the blast. This means the buildings are better preserved, including many that still have a second storey you can see, giving visitors a more accurate feel for what the city looked like before the eruption. The hot ash that covered Herculaneum and killed the people who couldn’t escape was deep enough that it covered two-storey buildings, sealed frescoes and mosaics on their walls, and even encased food supplies in household kitchens.

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