The MAV (Museo Archeologico Virtuale, or Virtual Archaeological Museum) is a museum where adults and children can understand, learn, and be amazed together. Here, your virtual journey through history begins. Discover the beauty and fascination of our cultural and archaeological heritage through displays that offer monitors, touchscreens, or backlit projections, digitally reconstructing the destroyed towns and recreating life at the foot of Vesuvius as it once might have been.
MAV (Museo Archeologico Virtuale - Virtual Archaeological Museum)
Via IV Novembre, 44
80056 - Herculaneum, Naples
- From Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 am to 5:30 pm.
- Closed on Mondays.
Audio guides available in versions for adults and children in Italian, English, French, German, and Spanish.
Reservations must be submitted at least 1 business day before the visit.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The time you select on the order form is your preferred time. The museum or attraction will automatically confirm the closest available time, which can be anytime during opening hours on the selected date, if your preferred time is no longer available.
Before You Book
PLEASE NOTE: Immediately after submitting an order, you will receive two emails. The first email contains your order summary (this one you receive immediately after placing your order), the second email confirms your successful payment (one business day after placing the order). In order to receive these two emails, please make sure that you enter your email address correctly and check that antispam or antivirus filters do not block emails from our [email protected] address. Users of AOL, Comcast and Sbcglobal.net need to pay special attention to this, please. Vouchers will also be available, one business day after the request, at your dashboard.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The time you select on the order form is your preferred time. The closest available time, which can be anytime during opening hours on the selected date, will be automatically confirmed if your preferred time is no longer available.
Virtual Archaeological Museum Herculaneum
Through scenographic reconstructions, multi-sensory environmental effects, virtual interfaces, holograms and interactive installations you'll experience the tremendous eruption of 79 DC, visit the Villa of Mysteries, walk around the Forum, enter the Schola Armaturarum (House of the Gladiators), be captured by the fascination of the baths or a show at the theater.
Virtual reality and your imagination bring the stories and characters back to life – and even common objects spring back to life thanks to technology.
Here is a glimpse at your MAV visit:
NAMES AND FACES OF ANCIENT INHABITANTS
Names and faces of ancient inhabitants of Herculaneum appear along the way of your virtual archaeological tour. Step under one of the two acoustic bells, and you'll hear their stories and thoughts.
THROUGH THE EXCAVATIONS
Walk around the excavations and feel the same surprise and emotions felt by the first discoverers. Find the ancient Herculaneum theater buried under the actual town, and discover the 17th century Bourbon underground passages and shafts. Frescoes and mosaics can be discovered with the touch of a hand. Walk close to the terracotta jars which were once hidden under the theater stage to amplify the actors’ voices, and listen to some lines of Plautus’ plays. A rumble captures your attention – it is the sound of volcanic stone breaking, revealing the belvedere of the Villa dei Papyri, discovered in Herculaneum under over 65 feet of volcanic debris. Enter the excavation and see how the ancient ruins were discovered.
THE ERUPTION OF THE VESUVIUS IN 79 AD
With the advice of archaeologists and the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV), the museum has produced a film in i3D/multiD format lasting 15 minutes which reproduces the extraordinary event that changed history and the face of Herculaneum and Pompeii.
Rivers of lava accompanied by a column of gas and ash, and a rain of red-hot volcanic stones seem to break on the viewer. The reconstruction is based on the story in the letters written by Pliny the Younger to Tacitus, and is viewed on a screen 26 meters (over 85 feet) long, with an immersive 3D projection system covering up to 240 degrees, designed by SpinVector. The installation is equipped with a vibrating platform that simulates the earthquakes that occurred simultaneous with the eruption. To feel immersed in the scene, visitors must wear 3D glasses.
BEYOND THE BURNING CLOUD
After the passage through a fog screen (a barrier of pulverized water) symbolizing the tragic burning cloud which descended on thousands of Herculaneum citizens, you'll see the rediscovered ancient cities as they were 2,000 years ago.
IN THE SHADOW OF THE VOLCANO: ANCIENT VESUVIUS CITIES
Beyond the burning cloud, walk on the beautiful mosaics of the Faun House in Pompeii. See the interior of this “domus romana” (Roman house) with its atrium, its side rooms and its beautiful frescoes and mosaics. Along the route, virtual views will enchant you – Tiberius’ Villa Jovis in Capri, Herculaneum on the sea, the Villa dei Papyri with its wonderful gardens, Pompeii and its necropolis, the ancient salt-works.
Discover archeology hidden in the sea. A virtual reconstruction of the Ninfeo di Baia shows the power of virtual techniques for underwater archeology. See the “before” and “after” thanks to the virtual imagines.
Deepen your virtual travel and consult the interactive holoscreen. Choose a film to take a look at the inside and the outside of Roman Houses and their fantastic mosaics.
THE VIRTUAL ROOM
In the middle of the big hall, you'll find the CAVE (virtual room), where you'll be a guest in a Roman House. Admire Villa dei Papyri’s garden in Herculaneum, the Peristilium (a garden with a colonnade) in the House of the Tragic Poet in Pompeii, the Termopolia (kitchens) and Jove's Temple in the Pompeii Forum.
THE SAFE AND THE JEWELS
Take a close look at some of the ancient jewels discovered on the beach in Herculaneum, lost by the citizens during their escape from the eruption. These precious objects seem to be floating in space – they are hologram projections.
VILLA DEI PAPYRI’ S LIBRARY
Enter the virtual reconstruction of one of the most beautiful and richest libraries in the Bay of Naples. Villa dei Papyri’s library belonged to Lucio Calpurnio Pisone, Julius Caesar’s father-in-law. Pisone's family used to invite the best literates and philosophers of the time to its gardens - such as the Epicurean philosopher Philodemus of Gadara and his disciples Virgil and Horace. The excavations at the villa, where already more than 1,800 papyri have been discovered (now preserved in the National Archaeological Museum in Naples), continue to this day. An interactive screen in this room there allows you to create philosophical statements by touching it.
VOICES IN THE STREET
Meet the ancient inhabitants of Vesuvius cities and hear their voices as you imagine walking on the ancient streets of Herculaneum and Pompeii – the people appear on the walls like ghosts.
AROUND THE INTERACTIVE TABLE
In the middle of the museum there is an interactive table where you can learn more about the citizens of the ancient cities. Select a topic and read more about lifestyle, marriage, food recipes, medicine, art, armed forces, gods, and so on.
AN INTERACTIVE BOOK
In this interactive book, the most beautiful mosaics and frescoes in the ruins (for example from the Villa dei Misteri) are at your disposal – you can cut the pages of this special book, read explanations and enlarge a detail by projecting it on the wall.
PLACES OF PLEASURE
The ancient Romans gave great importance to relaxing and caring for their bodies, to pastimes and amusement. Thanks to the computer graphics, you'll discover a woman who refreshes herself in a bath after a Calidarium (hot water bath). On the pavement, you'll be able to “move” the “water” of a bath just by walking on it and to smell perfumes from some terracotta jars. The route continues in the Lupanare, a street of pleasure with erotic paintings. A door opens in the darkness and a woman appears, perhaps the “Lupa” waiting for her clients.
AT THE FORUM
The biggest projection in the museum is Pompeii’s Forum, allowing you to see it in its past beauty and grandiosity. Sit on a comfortable couch and watch the extraordinary change of the forum scenario day by day, night by night, from the past to the present.
Once a confirmation code has been assigned to your reservation, we can refund the cost of unused tickets, also for no-shows, minus a service fee (reservation fee and online booking fee).