The Destruction of Pompeii

In the year 79 AD, the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, in Italy, was destroyed by the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius.  It was the biggest natural disaster of ancient times.


This poem for kids by British writer Paul Perro tells the story of the city's destruction, and its rediscovery hundreds of years later.


If you enjoy this poem, please scroll down to find out some more interesting facts about the ancient city.


A poem for kids by Paul Perro

There once was a Roman city
And it was called Pompeii.
Disaster struck it in the year
79 Anno Domine.

Nearby there was a mountain and
Just in case you’re curious,
I will tell you the mountain’s name –
It was called Mount Vesuvius.

Except it wasn’t a mountain
It was really a volcano,
Something which the Pompeiians
Sadly did not know.

One August night it spewed out fire,
Lava, rocks - volcanic.
The Pompeiians were all afraid
And ran about in panic.

The city was destroyed that night
With heat and bangs and crashes
And buried under hundreds of tons
Of volcanic ashes.

Pompeii lay lost and forgotten
For hundreds and hundreds of years
Until the 1800s when
It was found by engineers.

They dug the ruins out and now
It’s a tourist attraction today.
Every year millions
Visit ancient Pompeii.

Facts About Pompeii

  • Despite what many TV shows and movies (and at least one otherwise excellent board game) would have you believe, lava did not flow through the streets of the city - the volcano was too far away.  It was the rocks and ash that fell from the sky that caused the damage.
  • The ash that buried the city actually preserved many buildings and objects, due to a lack of air and moisture.  The city today is in far better condition than anything else that remains from that period.

  • During the excavation, the archaeologists used plaster to fill in the voids in the ash layers that once held human bodies which had decayed away, and so created casts of the Romans who died there.
  • Today Pompeii gets around 2.5 million visitors each year.



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