Pompeii <<pahm PAY>> was an ancient city in Italy. It disappeared after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, a volcano, in the year 79. For hundreds of years, the city lay buried under cinders, ashes, and stone. Its ruins were found in the 1700′s. Since that time, people have studied Pompeii’s ruins and have learned a great deal about its history.
Pompeii lay on a plateau—an area of high, flat land—less than 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) from Mount Vesuvius. The city was built in the shape of an oval and surrounded by a great wall. A group of important buildings stood in the center of the city around the town square. Many rich Romans lived in Pompeii.