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Pompeii and the Roman Villa (2008)

Cast: Derek Jacobi
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Studio: Microcinema
Genre: Documentary, Nature & Science , Travel
Running Time: 30 min.
Languages: Italian
Subtitles: English
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Though seldom acknowledged by contemporary scholars, Naples, Italy served - prior to the eruption of Vesuvius in A.D. 79 - as a societal Petri dish for the most unique and cutting-edge Italian artistic expression, thanks in no small part to its role as a vacation locale for Romans on holiday. The fact that heads of state including Julius Caesar and various senators flocked to the site inspired recognition-hungry artists to place their sculptures, frescoes and murals in that venue. Then, of course, Vesuvius hit, burying nearly everything under lava and ash. Fortunately, many of the artifacts were subsequently excavated and put on display at the National Gallery of Art in Washington. As narrated by one of the preeminent actors of the late 20th and early 21st centuries - Sir Derek Jacobi of I, Claudius and Love is the Devil fame - this historical documentary examines the said artifacts, one-by-one - thus bringing the audience as close to an actual tour of pre-Vesuvius Naples as they will ever get. The program is supplemented by such additions as various Giorgio Sommer photographs from the 19th century and interviews with archaeologists. ~ Nathan Southern, All Movie Guide

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