Notwithstanding years of institutional neglect which have done little to protect the priceless ruins, the archaeological site of Pompeii is still very impressive.
Just wandering along the paved roads, past the ruined temples and into the ampitheaters and doorways is a tremendous thrill.
But it is a close attention to the smaller details which transports us back to the Roman city's daily life before it all went black on that tremendous late August day in 79 AD when Vesuvius blew its top.
There's no getting away from the shadow of the volcano even today. It seems too close for comfort.
Ask any official guide and you'll be informed that Vesuvius is a real nasty piece of work and is due to go off at any time!