Interesting to see that on the rediscovery of Herculaneum there was some debate which city had been found. It was not immediately clear. Some thought that it was Pompeii, others thought that it was Retina/Resina:
Upon this discovery, there was a variety of Opinions among the Learned about the ancient Name of this City. Some would have it to be Pompeja; others, upon the Credit of Camillo Pellegrino maintained that it was Retina of which Pliny makes mention in a Letter he wrote to Cornelius Tacitus giving him an Account of all the Circumstances attending his Uncle's Death. This last Opinion appears the more plausible, as this City stands in the same Situation which Pliny the younger assigns to Retina.
Que la campagne de Naples est étrange et merveilleuse! Nulle contrée n'éveille dans l'âme plus d' inspiration, ne donne plus de repos à resprit.
C'est la terre des églogues, la terre des géorgiques, ou les montagnes se souviennent des doux accents de Virgile.
Quelle richesse de couleurs, de nuances et de tons! Quelles degradations depuis l'azur clair de la baie jusqu'au violet obscur et améthyste du Vésuve! Comme la chaîne orientale des montagnes, hérissées par intervalle de glaciers, qui brillent ainsi que des diamants entre des turquoises et des émeraudes, contraste avec la nuance rose, clair, avec les teintes opalines de Caprée.
One of the sheer joys of French is the fun that writers clearly have with the language. It is hard to imagine a British or German historian writing in such tones.
From the introduction to Guide d'Herculanum, published in the 1906 by Pompeiénne.
A marvelously rude description of Pompeii from William Henry Davenport Adams' Buried Cities of Campania (1868):
This third-rate provincial town the "Brighton" or "Scarborough" of the Roman patricians, though less splendid and far less populous than the English watering-places owes its celebrity to its very destruction.
Saw ye how wild, how red, how broad a light Burst on the darkness of that mid-day night, As fierce Vesuvius scatter'd o'er the vale Her drifted flames and sheets of burning hail, Shook hell's wan lightnings from his blazing cone, And gilded heaven with meteors not its own? The morn all blushing rose; but sought in vain The snowy villas and the flowery plain, The purpled hills with marshalled vineyards gay, The domes that sparkled in the sunny ray. Where art or nature late hath deck'd the scene With blazing marble or with spangled green, There, streaked by many a fiery torrent's bed, A boundless waste of hoary ashes spread. Along that dreary waste where lately rung The festal lay which smiling virgins sung, Where rapture echoed from the warbling lute, And the gay dance resounded, all is mute.- Mute!