Mount Vesuvius, on the southwest coast of Italy is one of the few active volcanoes in Europe and has produced the continent’s largest volcanic eruptions. It is considered as the ‘most dangerous volcano in the world’ due to its close proximity to densely populated cities of Naples, Pompeii, and Sorrento. It is noted that approximately 6 million people live in the vicinity of Vesuvius today.
As of 2013, the height of the cone was 4,203 feet (1,281 meters) but it keeps on changing with the activity on the top. There is a semicircular ridge, named Mount Somma at approximately 1,968 feet (600 meters) (Source: Encyclopedia Britannica)
Submarine volcanic sediments in the region trace the origin of Somma- Vesuvius volcanic complex back to 400,000 years. The Volcano has erupted several times, however, the deadliest eruption occurred on 23 August, 79 AD. This eruption completely destroyed and buried the three cities of Herculaneum, Pompeii, and Stabia under a thick layer of ash, lapilli, and lava.
There have been other reported eruptions in the following years after that: 202, 472, 685, 1036, 1139, 1822, 1855, 1858, 1861, 1872.
The last and most recent eruption took place in March of 1944. Approximately 21 million cubic meters of lava was emitted during the event destroying various cities.
How to get there
There are two train options available to get to Pompeii from Naples. For more detailed information, please visit our blog post on Pompeii.
From Pompeii station, you can board on privately operated shuttle vans that take you to the end of the road. Usually, the cost of the ticket includes the shuttle ride and admission fee for the hike.
Tip: It is suggested to buy a ticket at the ticket office on Mount Vesuvius. We bought our ticket from the shuttle office, and it turned out they charged us 2 euros extra for each ticket. The ticket price was cleverly punch holed out so that we don’t see the price.
Hike to the summit
From the parking lot, it is approximately a 30-45 minute steep walk up to the summit.
Tip: Make sure to take lots of water, sunscreen, and a hat. In summer months, the best time to go is early morning or late evening.
Tip: Wear proper shoes since the trail is loose gravel. We saw few fellow hikers in flip flops (which is not surprising due to hot weather), but they really had a hard time walking up and suggested we share this experience and wished someone told them this earlier.
The hike around the crater comes with spectacular views of the bay, Naples, Sorrento, and Pompeii.
Almost at the lunar-like bare summit of Mt. Vesuvius
We can still see the wisps of steam coming out of the crater. There is still volcanic activity today which means it is just a matter of time when it will erupt again.
The Italian authorities monitor the activity closely, so hopefully, there will a few hours’ notice before the next one.
Looking for more information on the surrounding areas, Visit our another post on the ruins of Pompeii.
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THERE IS LOT TO EXPLORE. KEEP EXPLORING