This film is about the excavations at Herculaneum, following Amedeo Maiuri, the archaeologist who, in little more than 30 years, brought to light the Roman city, which had been destroyed along with Pompeii, by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79.
Today, 2/3 of the ancient city still lies under the modern city of Ercolano. In order to continue the excavations large parts of the modern city would have to be knocked down, as Maiuri had started to do a few years before his death.
The diaries of Maiuri, together with interviews and unseen footage, lead us in the discovery of the archaeological site and invite us to consider the relationship that humans have with their past: our desire to discover it, to understand it and to preserve it in time.
“Establishing in people’s minds that Herculaneum should be thought of as a city and not an art-mine was a painfully slow, exhausting task. It was a smaller city than Pompeii, and different to it, but no less important for that. With its own urban physiognomy, its own culture and, what counts even more, its own human face”. Amedeo Maiuri