Before the eruption of Vesuvius in the year 79,
Pompeii, Herculaneum, and other towns around the
Bay of Naples thrived as centers of trade in wine,
olive oil, and seafood. They produced abundant
harvests of fruits and vegetables, and served as
entry points for shipments of grain from the then
Roman province of Egypt. Many vacationing Romans
were attracted to the area for its temperate climate,
natural beauty, hot springs, and Greek heritage.
Around the second century BC, Roman
aristocrats began building houses and larger villas
in the region.