Photo courtesy of the Superintendency of Archaeology of Pompeii.

A Roman pleasure-palace is depicted in this fresco recovered from the Villa San Marco, built along the cliffs lining the Bay of Naples in ancient Stabiae. The Villa San Marco and several other complexes were sumptuous summer homes for Rome’s rich and famous, with spacious courtyards, elaborate gardens and colorful wall frescoes. This splendid lifestyle ended suddenly, however, with the 79 A.D. eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which also destroyed Pompeii.