Pompeii and Herculaneum, I told my children, are without doubt, some of the world's most important archaeological sites. They didn't look convinced.
I tried again: when nearby Vesuvius erupted in 79AD, the Romans living in the towns were buried in molten lava and it happened so fast, the bread they were baking was still in the oven - and still there was not a great deal of enthusiasm.
In the firing line: Two thousand years on, Vesuvius still broods above Pompeii
Fortunately, looking for holiday reading my 16-year old had spotted Mary Beard's Pompeii (an award-winning book that became a TV series), which is rich in absorbing detail and this helped to whet young appetites and arouse curiosity.