When Was the Last Time Mount Vesuvius Erupted?

old-mt-vesuvius Credit: Alberto Incrocci/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Mount Vesuvius' last eruption was in March of 1944. The eruption destroyed the villages of San Sebastiano al Vesuvio, Massa di Somma, Ottaviano, and part of San Giorgio a Cremano.

The volcano was formed at least 13,000 years ago after a violent explosion destroyed most of another volcano, Mount Somma. Mount Vesuvius formed in the crater of Mount Somma sometime after that explosion.

The summit of Mount Vesuvius is 4,190 feet above sea level, and the volcano has experienced more than 30 eruptions since the most famous one in 79 A.D. That eruption destroyed the ancient towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, killing an estimated 13,000 people. When rain mixed with the ash from the eruption, it formed a sort of concrete that preserved the city through the centuries.