According to the mythological tradition Herculaneum was founded by the great hero Hercules after performing the tenth labor on the way back from Iberia. That’s the reason why the city was called by Romans Herculaneum and by the Greeks Herakleion. Actually historically it was founded by Oscans in the XII century B.C., as Strabone reported, or by Etruscans between X and VIII century B.C. Herculaneum was then conquered by Greeks, and they gave hippodrome plant to the city. Later on it was dominated by Sunnis and Romans.
The city of Herculaneum was smaller than Pompeii and with less citizens, but above all it was residential center where the rich Romans had fun and spent their lives in otia in the magnificent domus overlooking the sea. Herculaneum, in other words, was not a commercial city like Pompeii but a nice place to spend the time far away from business of the big towns.
Unlike Pompeii that was buried under meters of ashes and lapilli, Herculaneum was buried by hot mud casting, completely forgot and never reconstructed for centuries. The new town of Resina arose on the meters of lava. Nevertheless the meters of lava that buried Herculaneum made possible a better conservation of the buildings and the internal structures of the domus. Visiting Herculaneum will make you understand the way of living of citizens and the things present in Herculaneum before the eruption of 79 A.C. The guests will appreciate the presence of ladders, wooden shingles and other wooden structures of the ancient domus.