The volcanic cone of Vesuvius dominates the landscape around the Bay of Naples. Almost 1 million people live in the city of Naples itself and several million more in the immediate vicinity. In AD 79 the Roman towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum were buried after one of the most violent eruptions of Vesuvius known. As a result many everyday objects and works of art from the first century were preserved for posterity.
The area around Naples was also the site of some of the earliest Greek colonies on the Italian peninsula.
This book contains photographs of many of the Greek and Roman remains in Naples and surrounding towns, as well as treasures from more recent times. Unfortunately, after surviving the eruption of AD 79, many of the buildings in Pompeii and Herculaneum are suffering a second death as they are crumbling through neglect or lack of sufficient funds to maintain them. In addition Vesuvius still looms over the area posing a constant threat to the lives and livelihoods of the local inhabitants. Another major eruption has been long predicted. Perhaps it is precisely because the city is in the shadow of Vesuvius that the Neapolitans live their lives with an intensity and passion found nowhere else in Italy.