The ruins of Herculaneum, first discovered in 1706, are to be found 5 miles east of Naples, close to the coast. Legend has it that the city was founded by the mythical Hercules (hence the name) and later became a resort for wealthy Romans. The town was about one third the size of Pompeii. Herculaneum was engulfed by ash and boiling mud from the same volcanic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD that destroyed Pompeii and it lay undisturbed beneath layers of ash and mud for more than 1,500 years.
Because it was further from Vesuvius destruction came from the rivers of boiling mud that formed a 10 metre seal over the town that wiped it out of the history books. This seal protected the ruins from the elements and looters and preserved the relics including some wooden structures. Many of the richly adorned villas and the theatre that have been uncovered have yielded fine marble and bronze sculptures, paintings, and an extensive library of papyrus scrolls. These treasures, together with many other objects such as vases and domestic implements, are displayed in the National Museum in Naples.
There are no cruises currently listed for this port of call.