|Italian: comune di Ercolano|
Panorama of Ercolano
|Location of Ercolano in Italy|
|Coordinates: / 40.800; 14.350|
|Province / Metropolitan city||Metropolitan City of Naples|
|• Mayor||Ciro Buonajuto|
|• Total||19.64 km (7.58 sq mi)|
|Elevation||44 m (144 ft)|
|Population (30 June 2015)|
|• Density||2,700/km (7,100/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Patron saint||Assumption of Mary|
|Saint day||August 15|
Ercolano [erkoˈlaːno] is a town and comune in the Metropolitan City of Naples, Campania of Southern Italy. It lies at the western foot of Mount Vesuvius, on the Bay of Naples, just southeast of the city of Naples. The medieval town of Resina - read Resìna - was built on the volcanic material left by the eruption of Vesuvius (79 CE) that destroyed the ancient city of Herculaneum, from which the present name is derived. Ercolano is a resort and the starting point for excursions to the excavations of Herculaneum and for the ascent of Vesuvius by bus. The town also manufactures leather goods, buttons, glass, and the wine known as Lacryma Christi (Tears of Christ).
In legend, Herculaneum was founded by Hercules returning from one of his Twelve Labours. Historically, it was most likely founded by the Oscans, an Italic tribe of the 8th century BC, and later became part of both the Etruscan and Samnite dominions. Under the control of the Romans, the city was a renowned seaside resort where some of the richest Roman citizens spent their summer vacations. It was built according to the standard model of Hippodamus of Miletus with a grid of crossing Decumans and Cardos. The houses are elegant and large and there are public buildings that are abundant and large compared to the small number of inhabitants (about 5,000).
In AD 62 the town suffered major damage from a violent earthquake and restoration works were still going on when on 24 August of AD 79 Mt. Vesuvius erupted and completely buried the city under a deep layer of hot mud and other volcanic material. Unlike neighboring Pompeii, the citizens of Herculaneum died of thermal shock from the extremely hot pyroclastic surges, rather than buried under heavy ash.
After the eruption of AD 79 the area was slowly re-populated and in AD 121 the old coast road from Naples to Nocera was probably in place. In the Basilica di Santa Maria a Pugliano are two early Christian marble sarcophagi from the 2nd and 4th centuries AD which give evidence of habitation on the site of the buried Herculaneum.
Unfortunately there are no historical records covering the period between the collapse of the Western Roman Empire and the year 1000, but it is certain that the coast near Mount Vesuvius would have been exposed to frequent wars as a result of the peoples and armies invading the Empire. The first records of the existence of a village named Resina or Risìna, (… de alio latere est ribum de Risina… ; … de alio capite parte meridiana est resina …, etc.), are from the 10th century.
The etymology of the name is controversial. Some academics believe that it comes from a corruption of Rectina, the name of the Roman noblewoman from Herculaneum who asked Pliny The Elder for help during the eruption in AD 79. Other explanations are that the name could come from the Latin word raetincula, meaning the nets used by the fishermen of Herculaneum, or from the resin of trees grown on the ancient lava, or from the name of the river that flowed alongside Herculaneum. Finally some suggest that the name is the anagram of sirena (siren): a siren was the symbol of the village and the town of Resina until 1969.
Documents from the 11th century indicate the presence of a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary on a hill called Pugliano whose name probably derives from Praedium Pollianum, an ancient estate outside Herculaneum whose owner was called Pollio.
In 1418 Queen Joanna II of Naples conceded the Università (villages with local governments) of Torre del Greco, Resina, Portici and Cremano to her favourite Sergianni Caracciolo and later to Antonio Carafa. Since then, these villages belonged to the Carafa family and passed from hand to hand following the historical events of the family and the Kingdom and Vice Kingdom of Naples.
The main business of the inhabitants of Resina were: agriculture, fishing (also corals, together with the inhabitants of Torre del Greco), and cut and carving the volcanic stone. In the 16th century the worship for the Madonna di Pugliano, venerated in the church of Santa Maria a Pugliano, was so spread that numerous pilgrims flooded from all the surrounding areas and in 1574 the church is first mentioned as Basilica pontificia; two years later became the parish church of Resina, also including the neighbour Portici until 1627.
IN 1631 Mt. Vesuvius violently erupted after a long era of quiescence destroying the area all around, killing more than 4.000 people and altering the geography of the places. It was the second most devastating eruption of Mt. Vesuvius ever, after the one that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum in AD 79. The territory of Resina was struck by two legs of lava that split behind the hill of Pugliano and spared the houses of the village; one of the legs filled the valley on the western side of it and when it solidified the village grew on the new plain and the large via Pugliano was built heading straight to the basilica on the top of the hill.
After about three centuries of feudal submission, in 1699 Resina and the neighbour Portici, Torre del Greco and Cremano set free from baronial status paying 106.000 ducats (and more 2.500 for extra charge) to the Crown property as ransom price. Resina paid one third of the total amount.
The Baronial Ransom is one of the most memorable events of the history of Resina and its neighbouring towns.
In 1709 Emmanuel Maurice, Duke of Elbeuf, while constructing his residence on the coast of Portici, heard of a man who discovered ancient marbles and columns while digging a well in the nearby town of Resina. The duke bought his farm and started digging wells and galleries underground and excavated statues, columns and marbles that he used for his Portici residence, also giving them as precious gifts to his friends, relatives and monarchs around Europe.
The news reached King Charles VII of Naples, who became aware of the importance of the finds and bought the duke’s farm and started a methodical campaign of excavation with the aim of digging out all the treasures underground. In the meantime the news of the discovery of the ancient Herculaneum spread all around Europe, and boosted the cultural movement in Europe called Neoclassicism as well as the custom of the Grand Tour among the British and European upper-class.
Enthusiastic about the large amounts and the beauty of the archaeological finds, the king had the summer Palace of Portici constructed, on the border with Resina. Findings of Herculaneum were housed in a dedicated part of the palace, which was open for the king's guests.
The size of the collection increased after 1750, when exploration of the large suburban villa of the Pisoni family brought large amounts of wooden and marble statues to light: the two corridori (racers) or lottatori (wrestlers) and the Sleeping Mercury are the most well-known ones. Of special importance was the discovery in 1752 of the burnt papyrus scrolls of the library of the villa, known today as the Villa dei Papiri. They were carefully unrolled using a special machine made by Fr. Antonio Piaggio, containing the work of the epicurean Greek philosopher Philodemus.
Following the king’s example, nobles of the kingdom started building their summer villas and gardens next to the royal palace and the surrounding area. On the stretch of the main street called Strada Regia delle Calabrie, which is the royal street towards to the region of Calabria, from the centre of Resina to the beginning of nearby Torre del Greco, large and representative villas were constructed. This part of the street is known as the Golden Mile (Miglio d’Oro). Amongst the most outstanding buildings are the Villa Campolieto, designed by Luigi Vanvitelli, and the Villa Favorita, designed by Ferdinando Fuga. The Villa Favorita received its name from Queen Maria Carolina of Austria, because the place reminded her of her childhood's surrounding of Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna.
In 1799 during the last days of the Parthenopaean Republic, final fights took place in the streets of Resina and Portici between the king's supporters and the republicans. To celebrate the return of King Ferdinand IV of Naples against the "atheist" and pro-French republic, the inhabitants of Resina constructed a chapel of thanksgiving with a crucifix on the spot that replaced the republican Tree of Freedom. On 27 June 1802, the king returned in Naples landing to the pier of Villa Favorita.
During the kingdom of Joachim Murat Villa Favorita still was used for parties and celebrations held by the king and the winding and narrow leg of the Strada Regia delle Calabrie in Resina was straightened and widened throughout the town centre.
Together with the construction of the first Italian railway in 1839, some industrial facilities were established along the coast (glassworks, tanneries, train wagons, etc.) that altered the previous landscape. Nevertheless, Resina remained an agricultural town, celebrated for its fruit and healthy air and was the well-known destination for the visits to the underground Theatre of Herculaneum and the ascension to the crater of Mt. Vesuvius.
In 1845 the Real Osservatorio Vesuviano (Royal Vesuvius Observatory) was inaugurated, the first in the world.
In 1863 the local artist Marco De Gregorio founded the School of Resina an art movement that broke with the academic painting tradition.
In 1865 the King of Italy Vittorio Emanuele II inaugurated the open-air excavations of Herculaneum.
In 1880 the funicular railway on Mount Vesuvius was inaugurated, and the event inspired the world-famous Neapolitan song Funiculì, Funiculà. The funicular was repeatedly wrecked by volcanic eruptions and abandoned after the eruption of 1944.
Since 1904 the Circumvesuviana railway operated from Naples to Castellammare di Stabia with a station in Resina-Pugliano, close to the Basilica of Santa Maria a Pugliano and the funicular to Mt. Vesuvius. In 1927 King Vittorio Emanuele III of Italy inaugurated the new entrance of the archaeological site of Herculaneum on the Miglio d’Oro, and a new street was opened some years later to join the archaeological site to the Circumvesuviana railway and funicular stations.
The second oldest Italian motorway was opened in 1930 from Naples to Pompeii, with an exit in Resina.
From the second half of the 19th century to modern times, Resina has been a residential and holiday place for both aristocracy and Neapolitan middle class who lived in the celebrated villas of the Miglio d’Oro or modern ones such as Villa Battista, an elegant art nuveau building. Among the famous people who lived or used to frequent the town have to be mentioned: the poet and writer Gabriele D’Annunzio, the scientist Arnaldo Cantani, the former Khedive of Egypt Isma’il Pasha, who opened the Suez Canal and lived six years (1879–85) during his exile in Villa Favorita, the Italian prime minister Antonio Salandra, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Carlo Sforza, King Gustav VI of Sweden, amateur archaeologist. To these ones hundreds of artists, scholars, historians, scientists, kings, Roman popes, presidents, prime ministers, ambassadors, politicians, and other celebrities came to Resina to visit the underground theatre and the archaeological site of Herculaneum and Mt. Vesuvius.
Famous citizens of Resina were: Benedetto Cozzolino, who founded in 1788 a school for the deaf and dumb, the first in the Kingdom of Naples and the second in Italy after the one in Rome; Amadeo Bordiga, founder with Antonio Gramsci of the Partito Comunista d’Italia, the Communist Party of Italy; the philosopher Adriano Tilgher; the painter Alfonso Marquez as well as the already mentioned Marco De Gregorio.
In the years after WWII in via Pugliano flourished the street market of Pugliano (or Resina) that quickly became nationwide famous for the selling of used clothes ("pezze") and a mecca for seekers of vintage clothes and bargains.
On 12 February 1969, following a formal request of the Town Council, the President of Italian Republic decreed the change of the name of the town from Resina to Ercolano that is the Italian version of ancient Herculaneum.
In 1971 the Ente per le Ville Vesuviane was instituted and it is now a foundation, with the objective of restoring and preserving the main 18th-century villas. The villas that were first restored were Villa Campolieto, Villa Ruggiero and the seaside park of Villa Favorita and its facilities that all now host cultural events and the headquarters of cultural institutions and postgraduate School.
In the 1980s and 1990s the town was hit by the industrial crisis with a dramatic growth of unemployment and crime. Since last years of the centuries started a renewed commitment for a U-turn of policy and strategies to boost social and economic growth oriented to a touristic and cultural exploitation.
In 1995 the Parco Nazionale del Vesuvio (Mt.Vesuvius National Park) was created and all the area of Ercolano north of motorway is included in the Park; in 1997 the Archaeological site of Herculaneum was listed in the UNESCO World Heritage together with Pompeii and Oplonti and Mt. Vesuvius and the Miglio d'Oro were included in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves under the Unesco's Man and Biosphere Reserve Programme; in 2005 the MAV (Virtual Archeologic Museum) was opened and the open-air permanent exhibition Creator Vesevo was inaugurated with 10 stone sculptures of contemporary famous international artists lined up along the street heading to Mt. Vesuvius crater.
The Archeological site of Herculaneum (in Italian: Scavi di Ercolano) is the area south of the town centre of modern Ercolano where the Roman town of Herculaneum has been excavated. Herculaneum was destroyed and buried by lava and mud during the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79 together with Pompeii, Stabiae and Oplontis. In 1997 the Herculaneum site was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Although Herculaneum was discovered before Pompeii, the excavation was so difficult that it was repeatedly interrupted in favour of the easier excavation of Pompeii. Herculaneum is smaller and less famous than Pompeii, but better preserved due to the different volcanic materials that covered the town. In Herculaneum there are many wooden remains (doors, furniture, beams) and organic goods (fruit, bread, seeds, rope) that were burnt in Pompeii. Many Herculaneum buildings still retain their upper floors either entirely or in part. The excavated area of Herculaneum consists of only one quarter of the entire ancient town because the rest of the site still lies beneath modern Ercolano.
A new entrance was recently opened at the eastern side of the archaeological site with a large parking area for cars and buses, souvenir stands, and public gardens. In Corso Resina n. 123 there is the old entrance to the underground Theatre of Herculaneum, the first of the ancient town's monuments to be discovered and made famous around the world. Access to the Theatre has to be negotiated with the office of Scavi di Ercolano depending on the conditions underground.
Today the archaeological site is visited by some 300,000 tourists every year. In 2012 it recorded 288,536 visitors and was the 16th most visited monument in Italy.
The Basilica Pontificia of Santa Maria a Pugliano, in Piazza Pugliano, is the main church of Ercolano and the oldest in town and the area all around Mt. Vesuvius. In 1076 a Neapolitan lady included the church of Santa Maria at Pugnanum in her will among the Neapolitan churches and monasteries to which she left her legacy. It is the oldest document that confirms the existence and the high reputation of the church in the 11th century. During the following centuries the popularity of the temple increased more and more and pilgrims flooded here from everywhere. In the early years after the Council of Trent the church obtained formal acknowledgement of its eminence: in 1574 was first mentioned as "basilica"; two years later became the parish church of Resina and Portici and by papal bull on 13 June 1579 Pope Gregory XIII confirmed the plenary indulgences of his predecessors to the pilgrims visiting the temple on the first Friday of March, Easter Day and 15 August, Assumption day. In that century main works were made to enlarge and embellish the temple. During the eruption of 1631 the temple was miraculously spared by the lava. Some years later a new street (via Pugliano) was built on the solidified lava to easily reach the temple from the town centre. On 18 October 1849 Pope Pius IX, hosted in the royal palace of Portici by the king of Naples during his exile from Rome, visited the basilica.
The temple is worth a visit for its remarkable history and art treasures: the massive 36-meter high belfry from the end of the 16th century is one of the oldest of the area. Inside the church, there are sarcophagi from the 2nd and 4th centuries AD, that prove the existence of inhabitants in the area of Herculaneum in the aftermath of the eruption in AD 79; the exquisite wooden statues of Madonna di Pugliano and Black Crucifix, both of the 14th century; the font of 1425, one of the oldest outside the cathedral of Naples; the high altar, of the 16th century; the wooden bust of St. Januarius of the 17th century, the magnificent wooden pulpit of 1685, coeval to the wooden choir and behind the altar. Most of the paintings were made by local artists in the 16th and 17th centuries.
The Madonna di Pugliano is worshipped since ever, but before the statue of the 14th century the painted Byzantine-like Madonna di Ampellone was venerated. The main patronal festival is on 15 August, Assumption Day. A special worship is dedicated to St. Januarius, that is co-patron of Ercolano; the statue of the saint has always been carried in procession during the eruptions of Mt. Vesuvius toward the lava front. A bust of St. Januarius facing Mt. Vesuvius was frequently erected in villas and buildings to protect them by the fury of Mt. Vesuvius.
The Miglio d’Oro is the leg of Corso Resina ( the old Strada Regia per le Calabrie) in Ercolano from the Archeological Site of Herculaneum leading to Torre del Greco where are lined the largest, the finest and the most sumptuous villas designed by the best architects of that time and built in the 18th century by the noble families of the Kingdom of Naples around the Royal Palace of Portici. The most famous are Villa Campolieto, Villa Favorita and Villa Aprile. All the villas had backside gardens and woods, some of them rivaling with the ones of the Royal Palace.
In 1997 the Miglio d'Oro, together with Mt.Vesuvius, was included in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves under the Unesco's Man and Biosphere Reserve Programme.
Although the expression Miglio d'Oro was created in the 19th century to highlight the splendor of the buildings along the leg of old Strada Regia per le Calabrie in Ercolano (Resina) and the beginning of Torre del Greco, it was recently and inappropriately expanded to a broader area where the 121 villas of the 18th century listed by the Ente per le Ville Vesuviane were built; this area includes the Neapolitan quarters of Barra, San Giovanni a Teduccio and Ponticelli, and the towns of San Giorgio a Cremano, Portici and the whole territory of Torre del Greco.
Villa Campolieto was built in 1755 and designed by Luigi Vanvitelli the architect of the Royal Palace of Caserta who enriched the original project of Mario Gioffredo. Despite its austere and simple façade on the street, the internal side facing the sea opens on a magnificent elliptic exedra with a continuous arcade that also functions as belvedere towards the bay of Naples. The staircase leading to the upper floor is one of the most monumental in private buildings: it is surrounded by large windows and evokes the one of the Royal Palace of Caserta. The rooms of the main floor (piano nobile) preserve the original paintings and decoration of Jacopo Cestaro, Fedele Fischetti and Gaetano Magri.
Villa Campolieto hosts the executive office of Fondazione Ente Ville Vesuviane and The School Management Stoà. Also opens for exhibitions, conferences, fairs and festivals. Among the most remarkable events have to be mentioned: the Terrae Motus art exhibition after the earthquake of 1980 and the summer Festival delle Ville Vesuviane.
Villa Favorita, also known as Real Villa della Favorita, was designed by architect Ferdinando Fuga in 1762 for the Principe di Jaci e di Campofiorito who bought and restored a pre-existent smaller building. In 1768 the prince gave a sumptuous party in honour of the King Ferdinando of Bourbon and his wife Maria Carolina of Augsburg just arrived from Vienna. The Queen liked the villa that reminded her of Vienna’s Schönbrunn palace and since then was called "Favorita" (favoured). In 1792 the villa joined the Crown property and the King bought a close area by the sea so that created a great park from the main building on the street to the sea and a pier for the access by boat. It was frequently used by the royal couple and their children. The second son of the King, Leopoldo of Bourbon, while living there enlarged the palace and built some pavillons for entertainment and recreation such as the Casino of mosaics (so called after its interior decoration with a coloured patchwork of mother-of-pearl and porcelain scraps), the Montagne Russe (wooden switchback), two twin cafehaus on the pier as well as balancoirs and bandstands. He used to open the park to his subjects during public holiday. From 1879 and 1885 Villa Favorita hosted Isma'il Pasha, former Khedive of Egypt who was worldwide famous after the inauguration of Suez Canal. He decorated the interiors of his apartments with a Moorish style and built some Moorish gazebo in the park.
In the 20th century the park was split in two: the palace with the upper park was used as military facility and the park on the sea (Parco sul Mare della Villa Favorita) was used as firmland and after the earthquake of 1980 was requisitioned by the Town Council for temporary housing the evacuated families. In the nineties the Fondazione Ente per le Ville Vesuviane acquired and restored the wood, with the pavillons and the pier and now uses it for exhibitions, concerts and other events.
The main building alongside Corso Resina is remarkable for its double court and the magnificent semicircular staircase on the backside that connects the main hall of first floor to the park and its visible from Villa Campolieto. The façade was recently restored. The wood needs a major restoration.
Villa Aprile also known as Villa Riario Sforza after the first owner who built it in the second half of the 18th century. It is among the largest villas of Miglio d’Oro and keeps one of the most elegant parks still intact nowadays. The author Carlo Celano described the villa as "la regina delle ville" (the queen of the villas). Between 1818 and following years the new owner, the niece of the Duke Riario Sforza, transformed the building by elevating the second floor and the woods giving the ultimate shape: the splendid fountain of Prometheus, little temples, statues, fake ruins and Roman columns, an alpine chalet with a water-lily pond, grotto and spring. From 1879 the villa belonged to the Aprile family until recent years and became a well patronized cultural and fashionable salon and also a comfortable hotel. After decades of neglect, the villa and its park were bought and destined into luxury hotel.
Other interesting and nice villas of the 18th century are: Villa Ruggiero, owned by Fondazione Ente per le Ville Vesuviane, Villa Durante, Villa Granito di Belmonte, Villa Signorini and the Town Hall although the last three are not lined on the Miglio d’Oro.
The Mercato di Pugliano, also known as mercato di Resina, or simply Resina, is a street market on via Pugliano where second hand and vintage clothes (called "pezze" or "stracci") are sold, generally at very low prices.
It began after the end of WWII in southern Italy (1943) in order to sell cheap clothes and accessories to the impoverished population after the economic collapse of the war, but quickly became a well-known attraction for seekers of original, bizarre and old fashioned clothes.
It started at the end of 1943 when Anglo-American troops used some villas and buildings on the Miglio d’Oro as barracks and storage. The lorries transporting these materials towards the motorway north of Pugliano area had to drive along via Pugliano and stop at the Circumvesuviana railway crossing. Here, some adventurous inhabitants of the area silently stole, or in some cases bargained for old parachutes and uniforms to produce bras, corsets and dresses to be sold on the street.
Over the years the street market became permanent and some deals were made to import used clothes from the USA, Germany and other countries. The clothes arrived at the market in bales that were opened on the street so that people could select from them. Whatever was unsold or too spoiled to be sold was recycled into new clothes or materials in Ercolano or sent to specialized factories in Prato, near Florence. Together with the old clothes the market now also sells leather and fur coats and jackets, some of them of good craftsmanship.
The market flourished in the 1960s and 1970s but went to decline in the last decades of the 20th century. In recent years it has been having a slow revival.
The Museo Archeologico Virtuale (Virtual Archeologic Museum) opened in 2005 to give a multimedial approach to the history, lifestyle and habits of ancient Herculaneum, and the tragic events of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79.
It is an ideal destination for families and students and is centrally located in Via IV Novembre on the way from the Circumvesuviana train station to the northern entrance of the Archeological site from town centre.
The building was erected in the late 1920s as a covered food market. Some years later was converted into school and so was operated until 1980 when suffered major damage by the earthquake and abandoned. After years of complete neglect, at the beginning of the new century the Town Council totally restored it and converted into multi-purpose cultural centre, including the museum, a bookshop and a 300-seat theatre.
The National Park of Mt. Vesuvius was created in 1995 by the Italian Government by establishing the Ente Parco Nazionale del Vesuvio, the body in charge of it. It includes Mt. Vesuvius and surrounding Monte Somma, that is what remains of the original larger volcano after the eruption that buried Herculaneum, Pompeii, Stabiae and Oplontis in AD 79. It is the smallest National Park in Italy and one of the smallest in the world but it is very important due to the presence of the most famous volcano in the world.
In 1997 Mt. Vesuvius as Somma-Vesuvio was included in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves under the Unesco's Man and Biosphere Reserve Programme together with the Miglio d'Oro area.
Ecolano is one of the 13 towns that have their territory (or part of it) included in the area of the Park. From Ercolano starts the main street heading to the Gran Cono (12 km from town centre) where visitors can ascend on foot along a panoramic path up to the edge of the huge crater where some fumarole can be seen.
Alongside the first leg of Via Osservatorio are displayed ten stone statues of the permanent exhibition Creator Vesevo that where made in 2005 by as many different international artists.
According to the organization of Ente Parco Nazionale del Vesuvio, some paths in the woods around the Gran Cono are accessible.
From via Osservatorio it’s possible to reach the historic Osservatorio Vesuviano, that was founded in 1845 by the King Ferdinando II of Bourbon and was the first centre for volcanic studies and monitoring in the world. The visits have to be agreed with the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica of Naples.
Since the time of Roman Herculaneum, the area has attracted famous artists, poets, writers and philosophers. The Villa dei Pisoni, for instance, was an international centre of Epicurean philosophy. In the middle of the 15th century, Antonio Beccadelli, known as Il Panormita, built a villa on the seafront of Resina that was named Plinianum where the fellows of the Porticus Antonianum (also called Accademia Pontaniana after Antonio Pontano) used to gather.
Following the discovery of the buried town of Herculaneum and the start of the excavations, artists, scholars and authors from all around Europe begun to converge to Resina and the ruins of Herculaneum were one of main destinations of the Grand Tour.
Some of the most famous architects, painters, and sculptors of that time worked in the town to design and build the villas of the Miglio d’Oro (The Golden Mile) and many villas became important literary salons.
In 1863 the local painter Marco De Gregorio started the Scuola di Resina (School of Resina), an art movement that broke with the academic tradition in favour of a more realistic and intimate vision of the world around. It had some connection with the Macchiaioli movement, and had as main interpreters, together with De Gregorio: Adriano Cecioni, Giuseppe De Nittis, Federico Rossano, Eduardo Dalbono, Nicola Palizzi and Antonino Leto.
Between 1892 and 1893 Gabriele D’Annunzio was guest in Villa D’Amelio in Resina where he found inspiration for his work during those years.
After the establishment of the Ente per le Ville Vesuviane and the restoration of Villa Campolieto, the town of Ercolano hosted international events such as the international exhibition of contemporary art Terrae Motus, conceived by Lucio Amelio after the earthquake of 1980. Villa Campolieto is the location of the Festival delle Ville Vesuviane and hosts the School of Management Stoà.
The town is also home to the MAV, Virtual Archeological Museum, which gives an original multimedia presentation of the history of Herculaneum and the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79. In addition there is the Creator Vesevo, alongside the street leading to Mt.Vesuvius, an open air permanent exhibition of stone sculptures created by famous international artists in 2005.
The typical industries of Ercolano were agriculture, fishery, extraction and manufacture of lava stone, carpentry and retail. Agriculture was spread all over the town district up to the slopes of Mt. Vesuvius and enjoyed the mild weather and the fertility of the volcanic soil that made the Vesuvian yields excellent all the time. Fishery was practiced along the coast and in Tyrrhenian Sea including the coral fishing together with the neighbour Torre del Greco.
The Resinesi were local stonemasons and carpenters employed to pave the main roads and to build up the villas of the 18th century on the local Miglio d’Oro street and in surrounding towns. In the 19th century the first factories were mainly settled along the coastline, already altered by the railway. Among the main plants there were a glass manufacture, tanneries, and train manufacture.
After World War II the textile industry flourished around the business of Pugliano street market as well as the nursery gardening mostly on the coastal land that is more suitable for growing flowers and seeds. The need of large facilities for the expanding textile industry clashed against the programs of environment and volcanic prevention and forced many entrepreneurs of Ercolano to move to less-restricted areas of Campania region. This happened to the tanneries and other large factories. The nursery gardening has spread along the coastline south of Naples and Ercolano is one of the largest producers. The flower market on via Benedetto Cozzolino gave a boost to the industry and hosts an international year exhibition focused on cut flower.
Tourism is not a main item of local income, notwithstanding of several accommodating facilities, because the archaeological site of Herculaneum and Mt. Vesuvius are a spot destination for tourists who stay in Naples or Sorrento. There are three four-star hotels, and many B&B mostly located on the Miglio d’Oro and on the streets leading to Mt.Vesuvius.
On via Benedetto Cozzolino there are many used-car traders.
As concerning the figures of enterprises, the 2011 ISTAT census reports 2,092 enterprises with 4,585 employees. About one half of all (1,011) belong to trade as follows: 545 retail, 334 wholesale, 66 vehicles and motor vehicles (both retail and wholesale). Other main items are professional, scientific and technical consultancies (232 enterprises), manufacture (154), construction (151), social and health assistance (131), accommodation and restaurants (124). As it concerns their status, 21 are stock companies, 274 are limited companies, 19 co-op companies, 1,490 one-man business, professionals and freelances. In 2011 they have been recorded 16.067 income tax returns with a total amount of €346,410,631, that is €21,560 per single declarer and €6,471 per capita.
Ercolano is about 12 km from Naples city centre, 15 km from Pompei and 40 km from Sorrento. It is reachble in many ways:
The nearest airport is: Napoli-Capodichino (NAP) 15 km; travelling times: 15min via autostrada and Tangenziale di Napoli
Line 5: Portici (train station) – Ercolano – Torre del Greco
Line 176: Portici (train station) – Ercolano
Line 177: Portici (train station) – Ercolano – San Sebastiano al Vesuvio
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Comuni of the Metropolitan City of Naples