BATTLE OF ITALY: City of Havoc

It was a white city on a blue gulf. Beside it rose Vesuvius, breathing a plume of smoke. Around its feet clustered warships, steamers, merchantmen from Mediterranean ports. It was ancient. Virgil had lived in the city when he wrote his Georgics. Cicero had loafed among the villas. On its outskirts were the ancient suburbs of Herculaneum and Pompeii, which had been mummified 1,860 years ago by Vesuvius' erupting ash. It was a sight, a pile of palaces, churches, an opera house, university, museum, an aquarium where famous pale octopuses swam in tanks. It was slovenly and filthy and...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!