The Gallery of Maps is a gallery located in the Vatican on the way to the Sistine Chapel containing a series of painted topographical maps of Italy based on drawings of the geographer Ignazio Danti.
The galley was commissioned by the Pope Gregory XIII. It took Danti three years (1580–1583) to complete the 40 panels of the 120 metres long gallery.
In the map of the historical Italy appears Pompeij, more the 160 years before its official discovery and excavation carried out in the 1748 under Charles the Bourbon king of Naples and Sicily.
At the time of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in A.D. 79 the Roman fleet under the command of Pliny the Elder was stationed across the Bay of Naples at Misenum.
Pliny was a scientist, a historian and a naturalist and he felt the need to get closer to observe the phenomenon of the eruption.
He decided to land in Stabia, where lived his friend, but he died because of the toxic gases.
Pliny’s nephew, whom we know as Pliny the Younger, was with him at Misenum, but did not venture out on the ships with his uncle. He stayed back at Misenum and observed the events from there. He also received first-hand reports from those who had been with his uncle at his death. Based on this information Pliny the Younger wrote two letters to the historian Tacitus that recount the events surrounding the eruption of Vesuvius and the death of Pliny the Elder.
The letters survive and provide a vivid account of the events.