Interview with Ciro Buonajuto, lawyer and Mayor of Herculaneum
Your political mission is to give Herculaneum its rightful place in the world. What place is this?
Herculaeneum attracts 1 million 200 thousand tourists a year to Vesuvius and the Excavations, it is one of the most soughtafter tourist destinations in Italy. However, this influx does not correspond to economic or social spin-offs. Most of the population is resigned, it’s almost as if they don’t consider culture and tourism key priorities. I want to give them back their sense of pride at being born in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
You nominated Herculaneum as a capital of culture but in the end Mantua won...
Yes, but Herculaneum didn’t lose: we managed to create enormous interest about the area’s cultural heritage. We inspired citizens to identify with the beauty of the city and its culture, a theme that until now politicians have considered of lesser importance.
What are the most popular tourist attractions in Herculaneum?
The Excavations and Vesuvius are the biggest attractions but Mav is also a noteworthy centre of excellence from an archaeological point of view and should become a landmark tourist attraction. We also boast several stunningly attractive villas including Villa Campolieto and Villa Favorita whose historical importance is often underestimated.
Which attractions in Herculaneum have not yet reached their full potential?
If the attractions that I have mentioned could make tourists spend a few extra days in Herculaneum it would be already be an enormous result. I would like to promote the historic centre, the Pugliano market and the city’s streets, the places that were formerly the reign of the Camorra and drug dealers.
Herculaneum boasts archaeological treasures that are better preserved than those in Pompeii…
We in Herculaneum are blessed to have the support of renowned philanthropist David W. Packard who fell in love with the excavations and is responsible for its maintenance. Minister Franceschini’s choice to divide the Superintendencies could prove to be a great opportunity to allow the city to finally come into its own.