In 79 A.D., Pompeii and Herculaneum were busy, affluent towns. On August 24, people were going about their daily activities with the volcano signaling its anger in the distance. It spewed ashes and rocks as it shook the ground. The mountain's activity intensified. The town of Herculaneum was buried in a mud slide. The citizens of Pompeii were overcome by the toxic fumes of the eruption. By the time Vesuvius had quieted, 16,000 people were dead, including 2000 people in Pompeii.
Almost 17 centuries later, excavation of the city of Pompeii began. As the volcanic debris was removed, the modern world was given a clear view of what life was like during the Roman era. The city was laid out in typical Roman fashion with a grid like pattern. There were home, markets and temples. And bodies were found, some preserved in ash. Two of the most significants sights are the homes of a wealthy nobleman and the home of a wealthy merchant because they yielded so many treasures.
Many of the relics have been moved to the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples.
Vesuvius killed 4,000 people in the eruption of December 15, 1631. It last erupted in 1944.