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The archaeological excavations at Pompeii have brought to life an ancient city buried under a thick layer of ash and cinders when Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. The finds made during the execavations, begun under Charles III of Bourbon, provide a vivid insight into daily life in Roman times in what is, in effect, the best preserved city of the period. The remarkable number of finds – household items for day-to-day use, frescoes, mosaics and statues – have imensely improved our understanding of the customs, eating habits and daily lives of people who lived here over two millennia ago. Of particular interest are the “villas of otium” (for example the Villa of Menander, the Villa of the Mysteries and the House of the Faun) with their luxuriant gardens, ornamental porticos and superbly frescoed rooms.