5 – 9 March 2020
Pompeii, Herculaneum and Naples: The Shadow of Vesuvius – LRAC Tour


This tour will explore the majestic ruins of the ancient city of Pompeii that was buried under the volcanic ash and pumice from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD79. This tragic event for those that lived and worked in Pompeii was recorded in the works of Pliny the Younger but was then lost. Rediscovered and continuously excavated since 1592 Pompeii is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Pompeii has provided a wealth of source material and evidence giving unique and personal details of the lives of the Pompeiians and more broadly the Romans. Any publication on the Roman Empire will feature aspects of Pompeii so it will often feel very familiar.

Pompeii is small in terms of urban area but as there is a profusion of detail and this tour will take a thematic approach to the ruins and this will mean a great deal of walking. We will look at the political hearth of Pompeii exploring the forum, religious structures, buildings of entertainment, baths, private dwellings of the well-to-do and the shops & workshops of the non-elite. We will also look at burial and reputations. Of course no trip to Pompeii could be complete without a stop and visit to the so-called ‘Lupanare’, reputedly the only preserved purpose built brothel from the Ancient World.

Pompeii is impressive in terms of surviving remains, but it is Herculaneum that is extraordinary in terms of the preservation of wood and other organic-based materials such as roofs, doors, beds and even food. We will spend half a day examining this other unique site that has also been preserved due to the tragedy of AD79.

Pompeii and Herculaneum were urban sites but they were intimate linked to the rural landscape. We will look at the Villa of the Mysteries, just outside the Herculaneum Gate of Pompeii.

We will end the tour in the National Archaeological Museum of Naples which houses artifacts from nearby Pompeii and Herculaneum. The museum also contains many fine examples of Roman sculpture and Roman copies of Greek originals and the ‘Gabinetto Segreto’, Secret Cabinet, the Bourbon Monarchy’s collection of erotic art taken from the excavations of Pompeii and Herculaneum.


Other Details



Centrally located Hotel Forum**** in Pompeii


Course Cost

£488 inclusive of tuition, airport transfers (only available for the Siragusa Tours Ltd nominated flight), visits to Herculaneum and Naples, bed and breakfast tariff in twin-share room with private facilities.


Single Room Supplement



Travel Insurance

Once the tour is viable and flights are booked please make sure you book your travel insurance. If we have booked flights on your behalf through Travelpack then you can call Lina on 0208 5854010 ext 1008,  Mon – Fri 9 – 4 ,  for an immediate quote  (up to the age of 84).



Scheduled flight from London Gatwick to Naples with British Airways.

Once the tour is viable we will contact you with details of the ‘nominated flight’. You can decide whether you wish to make independent arrangements (people from the North may wish to use a Northern airport) or whether you wish to be booked on the group flight. Please note that when we contact you with fares they are usually only valid for the day and may be higher (or lower) the next day. On the booking form you have the option to authorise us to issue flights if we can’t get hold of you.


Local Transport

Airport transfers and visits to Naples by minibus. Transfer to Herculaneum by minibus or train,depending on group size.



Dr Ardle Mac Mahon is a long-standing Associate Lecture in Classical Studies with the Open University. He has a primary degree and research master’s degree in Greek & Roman Civilization from University College Dublin. He gained a PhD in Roman Archaeology from the University of Durham. The topic of his thesis was on the retail establishments (tabernae) of Roman Britain. His research has broadened to include the examination of the shops and workshops of the rest of the Roman empire but with a particular focus on Pompeii, Herculaneum and Ostia. More broadly Ardle’s interests are in the social history of the non-elite.

Ardle has taught every module offered by the Open University in Classical Studies at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and currently teaches A229 (Exploring the Classical World) and A330 (Myth in the Greek and Roman Worlds). He has also been a Teaching Associate in Roman Archaeology in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Nottingham, lectured in the Department of Classical at Royal Holloway, University of London and taught Classics modules online for Royal Holloway, University of London for many years. He is also an Assessment Specialist and Principal Examiner in GCSE and A-Level Ancient History and Classical Civilization with OCR.


Related OU Courses

A229 – Exploring the Classical World; A330 – Myth in the Greek and Roman Worlds; A340 – The Roman Empire; A863 – MA Classical Studies: Part 1, A864 MA Classical Studies: Part 2 & General Interest


Group Size



Itinerary / Study Programme


Day 1, Thursday, 5 March 2020

Arrival in Naples at 18.05 hrs and transfer to Hotel Forum **** in Pompei


Day 2, Friday, 6 March 2020


AM Amphitheatre/Theatre

PM Forum


Day 3, Saturday, 7 March 2020


AM Temples and Religion

PM Houses of the elite, shops, workshops, ‘lupanare’ and life in Pompei


Day 4, Sunday, 8 March 2020


AM Herculaneum site


PM Tombs& Villa of the Mysteries


Day 5, Monday, 9 March 2020


AM & PM Archeological Museum and time in Naples

Drive to airport for check in at 17.00 hrs


This itinerary and study program is provisional and may be subject to change in response to local conditions