Pompeii was an ancient Roman town near the city of Naples, in the Campania region of Italy. Modern-day Pompeii may feel like a nondescript satellite of Naples, but it's here that you'll find Europe's most compelling archaeological site: the ruins of Pompeii. Sprawling and haunting, the site is a stark reminder of the malign forces that lie deep inside Vesuvius. In 79 AD, hot volcanic ash and pumice raced down the slopes of Mount Vesuvius and smothered Pompeii to death. Since excavations started in the 18th century, the city has yielded a bounty of cultural treasures and insight into the life of the ancient world. The region around Mount Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples attract now travelers who want to soak up the sun and the scenery.