Marcel Proust in his novel "Time Regained" compared the military bombardment of Paris to the destruction of Pompeii:
But we must retrace our steps. I am still walking down the boulevards beside M. de Charlus, who is using me as a vague intermediary for overtures of peace between him and Morel. Observing that I did not reply, he thus continued: "As to that, I do not know why he doesn’t play any more. Apparently there is no more music, under the pretext of the war, but they dance and dine out. These fêtes represent what will be perhaps, if the Germans advance further, the last days of our Pompeii. It only needs the lava of some German Vesuvius (their naval guns are not less terrible than a volcano) to surprise them at their toilet and eternalise their gesture by interrupting it; children will later on be educated by illustrations of Mme Molé about to put the last layer of paint on her face before going to dine with her sister-in-law, or Sosthène de Guermantes finishing painting her false eyebrows. It will be lecturing material for the Brichots of the future; the frivolity of a period after ten centuries is worthy of the most serious erudition, especially if it has been preserved intact by a volcanic irruption in which matter akin to lava was thrown by bombardment. What documents for future history! When asphyxiating gases analogous to those emitted by Vesuvius and earthquakes like those which buried Pompeii will preserve intact all the remaining imprudent women who have not fled to Bayonne with their pictures and their statues. Moreover, has it not been Pompeii, a bit at a time every evening, for more than a year? These people flying to their cellars, not to bring out an old bottle of Mouton-Rothschild or of St. Emilion, but to hide themselves and their most precious possessions like the priests of Herculaneum surprised by death at the moment when they were carrying off the sacred vessels. Attachment to an object always brings death to the possessor. Paris was not, like Herculaneum, founded by Hercules. But what similarities force themselves upon one and that lucidity which has come to us is not only of our period, every period possessed it...."
- 24 August 79 A.D. - Pompeii overwhelmed by the great eruption of Vesuvius, which buried the city under dense beds of cinders and ashes.
- 1997 - The "Archaeological Areas of Pompei, Herculaneum and Torre Annunziata" were included in the World Heritage List by UNESCO.
- 2010 - Collapses at the ancient site underline what experts have been warning for years: Italy's priceless cultural heritage is slowly but surely disintegrating.