In the second century, Pliny the Younger wrote a letter to the Roman historian Tacitus, recounting the early stages of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. From his villa in Misenum, across the Bay of Naples from the volcano, he remembered seeing a dark cloud, shaped like an umbrella pine tree, filling the sky over the mountains flanking the northern edge of Sarno River plain. What followed was something that no one in the region was prepared for. A day after Pliny observed that dark cloud, a small tavern in a northeastern section of Pompeii collapsed, along with the rest of the town, under the weight of pumice and ash.
About the author:
Farrell Monaco is an award-winning Classical archaeologist and food-writer whose research centers on food, food preparation, and bread in the Roman Mediterranean. She writes regularly on the role of food and food preparation in Roman daily life on her site, Tavola Mediterranea, and publishes in both English and Italian. Farrell has also written exclusively for Atlas Obscura and BBC Travel. Her work has been featured prominently by National Geographic, Popular Science, The Atlantic, the BBC, The Guardian, The Economist, Esquire Magazine, SAPIENS Magazine, Verve Magazine, Saveur Magazine and Milk Street. In November of 2020, Farrell co-produced, wrote and presented a video on the history of the date palm fruit with The Getty Museum (Los Angeles, USA).