Pompeii and Herculaneum were two cities located just south of Naples. The two settlements were dominated by the cone of Vesuvius, which with its mass dominates the Gulf.

On 24 August 79 A.D. Vesuvius erupted and the two cities were swept away by lava, smoke and ash that killed all the inhabitants. During the 18th century, excavations have brought to light the remains of the two cities, one of the most important archaeological sites in the world