The fateful mountain near Naples

Volcano Vesuvius

Vesuvius is one of the most famous volcanoes on earth, fearsome, powerful, awe-inspiring and awe-inspiring. It is 1,281 meters high. Located in the south of the Apennine Peninsula, on the shores of the Gulf of Naples, Vesuvius, along with Etna on the island of Sicily and Stromboli on the Apennine Islands, is one of only three active volcanoes in Italy. Moreover, it is the only one on the continent located in the mainland of the Old World. The rest of Europe’s fire-breathing mountains are on island territories.

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Video: Volcano Vesuvius and Pompeii

Highlights

Vesuvius is now recognized as one of the most dangerous volcanoes on the planet. Such notoriety he won because of its high activity, which back in ancient times brought a lot of destruction and death. There are evidence of more than 80 eruptions of this formidable cone-shaped giant, the most famous of which dates back to 79 AD, when lava, magma and ash erupted and buried several cities of the ancient Roman Empire together with their inhabitants.

From Naples, a city of millions in the southern Apennines, Vesuvius is only 15 kilometers away. And at its foot stretches the city of Torre Annunziata. This proximity poses a potential danger to people, because the homes of over 700 thousand people not only located almost next to the volcano, but also in an area with little developed infrastructure. Roads built with the expectation that in the future the population may have to be evacuated, are now outdated. Others, for a variety of reasons, have become dead ends. The new transportation network has not yet been laid.

View of the volcano from the side of Naples

However, Vesuvius was and remains an attractive tourist attraction – the most notable in the Italian region of Campania. There have always been many lovers to climb it. Until the end of XIX century to help those who wished to look into the crater of the famous volcano came guides with mules, then for the curious travelers built a modern cable car, which worked until 1944, and after the then powerful eruption and has not been restored.

Now there is a chairlift, which takes tourists to the parking lot at an altitude of 1,000 meters. The remaining distance – 281 meters – people overcome on their own. It is a little tiring, but the conquest of the legendary peak is worth it. It offers beautiful views of Naples, the island of Capri and the picturesque Sorrento coast, a real gem of Italy, where the patricians, the powerful rulers of ancient Rome loved to relax. And, of course, a vivid impression that can be expressed in a short but succinct phrase: “I conquered Vesuvius!” remains in the memory for life.

Geophysical features

The volcano is part of the Somma-Vesuvius mountain system, consisting of three cones. Outside, we see the oldest one, preserved on the slopes on the north and east sides. It has the appearance of an arc-shaped rampart and is called Monte Somma. It reaches a height of 1,138 meters. The second cone is the inner one: this is Vesuvius itself. The third cone is considered temporary. It appears, then, after strong eruptions, disappears. It is impossible for mere mortals to see it. And not even because of its impermanence: it is just at the bottom of the crater, where only specialists can see, for example, the volcano station, founded back in 1842. The observatory is located on the northwest slope, about 600 meters from the surface.

Cities destroyed by the eruption of ’79

Geophysical studies of Vesuvius have been carried out very carefully and for many decades, so it can be called the most studied fire-breathing mountain on Earth. It has been established that beneath the visible part there are several so-called magma chambers. The first one, the most distant one, is located at a depth of about 10-15 kilometers, and the second one is closer to us, 3 km from the Earth’s surface. The Triassic dolomites are the basement of the continental crust of Vesuvius. Their thickness extends up to 7 kilometers. They are underlain by rocks that appeared a long time ago, when the Mediterranean movable belt, stretching for 15,000 km from Europe to the islands of the Indonesian archipelago, was just being formed.

The flora of the double volcano also has interesting features. Somma and Vesuvius are kind of “brothers”, but they are radically different from each other, like “non-natives”. On the Somme, there is a mixed forest of over 600 plant species, 18 of which grow in the area and the rest are imported. The soil of Vesuvius, on the other hand, is drier and more conducive to mudslides. In order to avoid this phenomenon, many Mediterranean shrubs and a pine forest have been planted at an altitude of 800 meters.

Lava strata, layer upon layer, and volcanic tuff have formed the main cone of this double volcano over the centuries. They are constantly weathered and deposited, which ensures the high fertility of the surrounding soil, as evidenced by the numerous vineyards and orchards that have been planted here. Looking at this neighborhood of living, sun-drying nature and potentially dangerous Vesuvius, one cannot help asking: how did it appear on this spot, and how did the surrounding landscape develop in general? This is what the results of numerous studies say.

View of Vesuvius from Pompeii

How Vesuvius was formed

In prehistoric times on the site of Vesuvius there was a large basin, shaped like a circus arena – caldera. Its origin was obviously volcanic, given its proximity to the Somme. The walls were steep, the bottom more or less flat. As a result of numerous eruptions of the latter, the old caldera was destroyed, and Vesuvius arose in its place. With its emergence, the fire-breathing mountain became a de facto double mountain.

The described events, according to various estimates, took place about 25 thousand years ago. The “newborn” volcano was formed as a result of the layering of two powerful tectonic faults – the African and Eurasian ones. But not instantly, but 13,000 years afterwards. Vesuvius announced itself almost immediately with a powerful eruption. It is believed that it happened between 6940 and 100 BC. But it is not known exactly when. A little more is known about the second major eruption of Vesuvius: it happened about 3.8 thousand years ago and covered with magma flows the territory equal to the modern Naples and its surroundings.

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A great contribution to solving the mysteries of Vesuvius was made by the famous expert volcanologist Alfred Ritman. Based on careful observation and analysis of the facts, the scientist developed a theory of the formation of the lava of this volcano, characterized by a high content of potassium compounds. It was called the hypothesis of dolomite assimilation. Scrupulously investigating the fluid and melt components of volcanic matter, he established both the physical and chemical characteristics of the minerals contained in the lava, such as olivine, clinopyroxene, and plagioclase.

The most famous eruption

In the second half of the first century AD the Roman Empire was ruled by the Flavius dynasty. On December 20, 69, Emperor Titus Flavius Vespasian succeeded to the throne of the vast state. It was a good era. Internal turmoil and revolts were left behind, relations with the Senate were settled, and the governor himself was a model of simplicity of manners. Trade was booming, and the population was engaged in viticulture, horticulture, animal husbandry. People explored new territories, including those at the foot of the mountains. One of the places suitable for habitation was the vicinity of Vesuvius. The cities of Pompeii, Stabia, Herculaneum and Oplontis appeared here. They were very beautiful, and the population lived rich and carefree. No one ever thought that in the depths of the mountain slumbered formidable underground forces, waiting only for their time to break out.

And then the terrible moment of Vesuvius’ awakening, which later appeared in all history books, came. It happened in 79, the last in the reign of Emperor Vespasian. True, this day did not come at once. Seventeen years before the catastrophic eruption of a major earthquake. Part of Pompeii and Herculaneum turned into ruins, and the surrounding villages were wiped off the face of the earth. People would have been alarmed, but they did not associate the seismic event with the volcano. Observations in the modern sense of the word were not conducted and the possible activation of the volcano was not even considered.

After the natural disaster townspeople have restored their homes and temples, theaters, taverns and baths, thus showing that nowhere are not going to move. And how could they do that when the fertile soil around the perimeter of the volcano fed them all year round? Here they harvested two crops of wheat and other crops, grew vegetables and fruits, and hunted game in the forests. To refuse such a fertile place was to condemn oneself to hard and half-starved survival.

On August 24, 79, the inhabitants of Herculaneum heard a deafening roar coming from the bowels of the earth. The people were frightened at first, but quickly calmed down. They consoled themselves with the fact that their homes were so strong that pumice and volcanic ash would not penetrate them. Then there was a lull for a while, and by nightfall Vesuvius had awoken to its full force. It was then that the townspeople realized that the volcano was not “kidding”. They rushed to the sea, hoping to escape. At that time, an impressive cloud of ash shot out of the crater, accompanied by a rushing flow of lava and mudflow, caught up with the unfortunates just off the coast. The townspeople probably didn’t even have time to realize that death itself had rushed out to them with the subterranean rocks. A few more eruptions and the small but beautiful settlement was buried under an impressive layer of lava, ash and mud masses, and the population perished.

On top of the volcano Vesuvius Crater Vesuvius eruption in 1944 The ruins of Pompeii

The next day the element did not even think of calming Vesuvius and reached Pompeii. To imagine what was happening in its streets, it is enough to recall the painting “The Last Day of Pompeii” by Russian painter and muralist Karl Pavlovich Bryullov, painted in 1830-1833. The great painter, calling on the help of his imagination, reproduced in vivid colors the details of what had happened. That the catastrophe was terrible is also confirmed by the results of recent research. The power of the release of lava, ash and other components was – just think about it – 100 000 tons per second! Volcanic masses reached a fantastic height of 35 kilometers, so no wonder that the air was heated to 500 degrees and gained an enormous speed and rushed forward, literally vaporizing everything around.

There is also written evidence of the terrible eruption of Vesuvius. Their author is the Roman politician, writer and lawyer Gaius Pliny Cecilius Secundus, known as Pliny the Younger. Together with his uncle Pliny the Elder (Gaius Plinius Secundus), commander of the Mizena Fleet, he was on one of the ships sailing in the Bay of Naples in the immediate vicinity of the affected areas. So the young man became an unwitting witness to the terrible disaster. A huge cloud, which appeared over the volcano Vesuvius at about one o’clock in the afternoon, reminded him of the shape of a pine tree, which at first extended evenly and then expanded into several “branches”. The cloud, the Roman recalled, was white in color, stained in places with admixed ash. It swiftly enlarged and grew blacker, blocking out the entire sky. Through this mess ran, like cracks, long streaks of flame that looked like lightning, only, unlike lightning, unnaturally huge.

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The darkness was thick. Ashes fell incessantly. The desperate cries of the doomed men could be heard from the shore. Under these difficult conditions, the commander of the fleet, showing remarkable courage, decides to send ships to the coast and try to save those who have not yet died. As the ships approached, Pliny the Younger continues his memoirs, it became unbearably hot. Along with the ash, black stones began to fall from above, and an impressive column of flame rushed upward from the volcano’s crater. A total of 2,000 people are said to have died in Pompeii at the time. A similar number of people were buried alive by volcanic eruptions in the vicinity of the city. But many, thanks to desperate and brave sailors, managed to escape. Pliny the Elder himself died during the rescue operation.

Vesuvius, having done its evil work, fell asleep, leaving no stone unturned in the settlements at its foot. Not only Pompeii and Herculaneum, but also Stabia were destroyed: the ash and mud covered them completely. Over time, the memory of the lost beauty-cities faded into oblivion. Seventeen centuries later, while digging a well, sculptures of ancient Roman gods were accidentally discovered. It was decided to start excavations. When they were finished, the eyes of archaeologists appeared a stunning picture – as if a time machine transported them to the era of antiquity. Seven-meter layer of volcanic ash perfectly preserved the houses of the inhabitants of Pompeii, temples, amphitheater, workshops, household items, works of art. The innocent victims of the Vesuvian eruption were reminded of the cavities in the compacted ash, following the contours of human bodies. They were filled with plaster and the resulting figures, along with the found domestic utensils, were put in storage in the museum, which is visited by tourists with interest.

Video: Recreated eruption of Vesuvius in ’79

Vesuvius volcanic activity

After the eruption of ’79 and the destruction of several cities, a huge 15-kilometer caldera was formed. Subsequent volcanic activity of Vesuvius was somewhat weaker. For example, the eruption of 1631, when ash and lava killed about 4 thousand people, is well known, but not because the emission of lava and ash was very powerful, but because of the high population density. It seems that the death of Pompeii did not teach people anything, they still densely settled in the vicinity of the formidable giant. Spewing out of the depths of the masses of earthly rocks, the volcano did not even “spare” itself: its height has decreased by as much as 168 meters. Once Vesuvius has shot out double crystals of pyroxenes, the rock-forming silicate minerals. Visually it looked like “rain”… of little black crosses, much to the surprise of the Neapolitans.

The eruption of 1805 was even weaker than the previous ones, but again not without casualties and destruction. Naples was almost entirely levelled with the ground, and the total death toll was an impressive figure: 26 thousand people. Vesuvius also woke up in 1794, 1822, 1872, reminding people again and again that its proximity could be very dangerous. In the early morning hours of April 4, 1906 a crack appeared in the southwest side of the cone, and magma erupted, throwing ash and two tons of rocks into the crater and destroying everything around it. The gas burst was so powerful that the top of the fire-breathing mountain flew away like a hat in the blowing wind.

An American pilot sweeping ash from the wings of a B-25 Mitchel bomber after the eruption of Vesuvius. 1944

In 1944, at the height of World War II, the last volcanic eruption of Vesuvius in modern and contemporary history took place. It lasted from March 12 to 21. Numerous casualties were avoided this time: 27 people died. The molten lava field, 90 m wide and 9 m deep respectively, spread over cities such as Massa, San Sebastiano and Ario de Cavallo. It may be observed that the volcanic activity of Vesuvius is varied and not uniform in destructive power, but in all cases it is characterized by explosive outbursts. They are so powerful that the ash that is thrown out may cover the whole south of Europe. In the V and XVII centuries it reached even Constantinople – a city located a thousand kilometers from the volcano.

Vesuvius as a tourist attraction

Vesuvius and its surroundings are now under the protection of the Italian government, which in 1995 decided to create here a national park. The scientific life here is more vibrant than anywhere else in the world, as this area is of great historical and geological importance. The ancient cone of Somma and the caldera of Valle del Gigante, formed in ancient times, are under special protection of the state.

Atop Mount Vesuvius

Vesuvius National Park is home to some of the rarest species of animals in the Apennines: the fox, the oak mouse, the stone marten. The hare and wild rabbit are numerous. The Mediterranean bushes are inhabited by birds, which are represented here by more than a hundred species. Of particular interest both to the volcano station workers and to the many tourists is of course the crater of the legendary volcano, which surrounds Naples and the famous historic cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Such close proximity to the fire-breathing celebrity sometimes seems like a dream, many travelers cannot even believe that they are seeing a “living” Vesuvius, and they jokingly ask to be pinched.

The volcano, however, is really alive – in the truest sense of the word, as far as it applies to such natural objects. A haze of sulfur compounds constantly hangs over its crater. If you get closer, you can feel the hot ground under your feet. From time to time from the bowels of Vesuvius rises fresh lava flows, a mixture of different gases and water vapor. Their temperature can reach 400 ° C.

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The real test during the tourist season is the scorching sun, there is nowhere to hide from it. The path to the summit is hindered by dust and sharp pebbles that try to get stuck in your shoes. Pilgrims are saved only by the benches along the trail, especially for people who are not used to such hard work.

Working hours, how to get there

Vesuvius National Park works according to a schedule that adjusts in different months. In March and October you can visit here from 9:00 to 16:00, and in April, May-June and September until 17:00. In peak season (July-August) tour time increases by another hour. From November to February, on the contrary, the time is reduced – to 15:00. The ticket office located in Ercolano, a commune in the province of Naples, is open almost year-round, except on days when the volcano becomes more active, which carries potential danger.

You can get there from Naples by taking the train that leaves daily in the direction of Vesuvius from the main train station, which is located in Piazza Garibaldi. The travel time takes 9-16 minutes, the final stop is Ercolano-Scavi station. Then change to a minibus and in half an hour you are already in the national park. If you don’t take the train, don’t get upset and wait for the train to come.

From Naples to Vesuvius there is a bus service that leaves daily at 9:00 and 10:15 from Piazza Piedigrotta with a travel time of 1 hour and 30 minutes. Departure for the return trip takes place at 12:30 and 14:00. Buses to Vesuvius, from 8:00 to 11:20, also leave from Pompeii, from the Piazza Amphitheatre. On the way, which lasts about 60 minutes, they make several stops.

If you have free time, be sure to stop by the souvenir shops near the ticket office. Here you can also have a snack and recuperate after a difficult, but so vivid and memorable trip to the most famous volcano on the planet – Vesuvius.

Active or extinct volcano Vesuvius (15 photos)

Vesuvius is a volcano famous for tragic events associated with horrific eruptions. There are many similar natural phenomena on the planet, but it is Vesuvius that attracts tourists, poems have been written about it, paintings have been written to reproduce in the imagination the sad pages of Italian history.

Over the millennia of its existence, it caused the death of a huge number of people, under its lava buried entire cities. Even today the volcano is terrifying with periodic flashes that occur in its cones, and scientists say that it does not sleep and at any moment may cause another catastrophe.

Description of Vesuvius volcano

The Bay of Naples overlooking the volcano is one of the most beautiful places in Italy with its own, eventful history. The big mountain towers over Naples, and on its summit is formed a huge crater, more than 750 meters wide. The absolute height of the volcano is 1,281 meters. Scientists are currently identifying three cones of the explosive mountain, one of which is regularly missing. The oldest is the cone of Somma. It is inactive. The third cone is the Vesuvius vent, which is still awake today, terrifying residents of nearby cities.

What does Vesuvius look like?

Scientists do not even question whether the volcano towers over the Bay of Naples and is active or extinct. They are constantly examining the activity of rocks inside the crater and are inclined to believe that there could be another explosion at any moment. Sometimes magma activity increases so much that there is a real threat of an eruption.

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From the height of the mountain there is a beautiful view of the coast. The slopes of the volcano are covered with coniferous forests, and at the foot there are vineyards. Numerous emissions of lava and tufa have made the soil near this landmark fertile, so the grape harvest here is always excellent.

Vesuvius – a symbol of danger

Vesuvius originated in the old caldera, destroyed by the eruptions of the fire-breathing Mount Somma. Therefore it is considered a double volcano and is called Somma-Vesuvius. Vesuvius volcano has such geographic coordinates: latitude 40 ° 49′ and longitude 14 ° 25.

According to scientists, at first it was an underwater volcano, which after some time was transformed into an island, and then, as a result of active work and the accumulation of volcanic emissions became part of continental Europe. It happened more than 25,000 years ago after the African plate was under the Eurasian plate – and now the fire-breathing mountain is located on the coast of the Gulf of Naples in the province of Naples. As for Vesuvius itself, it emerged some time later and is about 12 thousand years old.

This volcano is interesting because it is the only active volcano on the European continent. The other fire-breathing mountains are situated in Europe, but they are in the areas cut off from the mainland, for example, Etna – in Sicily, Stromboli – on the Aeolian Islands.

History of the six most dangerous volcanoes in the world142254.78

Vesuvius itself is a humpbacked mountain whose huge cone is surrounded by a steep caldera. Its slopes are covered with thick layers of lava, volcanic ash and pumice, and gardens and vineyards grow at its foot.

As for the flora, it is worth noting that the slopes of Vesuvius and the Somma are very different from each other. The soil of Vesuvius is drier, in addition, to avoid the mudslides, specially planted at a height of 800 meters pine forest and Mediterranean shrubs.

As for the Somme, there is a mixed forest on this mountain, more than six hundred plant species, of which eighteen are from the area.

According to the latest scientific data, beneath this fire-breathing mountain there are several magmatic chambers (the uppermost at a depth of three kilometers, the second at ten to fifteen kilometers). The crust, over which Vesuvius rises, consists mainly of a thick layer of Triassic dolomites (about 7 kilometers) and rocks, created with the direct participation of mica schist.

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The volcano is interesting because it has as many as three nested cones:

  • The oldest of them (Monet-Somma) is outside and can only be seen from the north or east side, with a height of nearly 1,200 meters;
  • the second cone, 1,280 meters high, is Vesuvius itself, located in the middle of the Somme;
  • on the volcano itself is a crater, where sometimes another cone is formed, a temporary one, which disappears during a strong eruption.

The cone of the volcano

Where is Vesuvius volcano located?

The geographic coordinates of Vesuvius volcano on the world map are 40°49′17″ north latitude and 14°25′32″ east longitude.

The volcanic upland belongs to the Apennine Mountains system. There are two other active volcanoes in the country, Etna and Stromboli, but they are not on the mainland, but on islands. Vesuvius is the only volcano in continental Europe that poses a danger. At the foot of the mountain is Naples, and in the immediate vicinity is the city of Tore Annunziata.

Vesuvius from above

How to get to the volcano

Climbing Vesuvius will require a lot of effort

There are three ways to get to Vesuvius.

By train

For 2 €* and 10-12 minutes you can take the train from Naples to Vesuvius. Get off at Ercolano Scavi station, and from the station take either a cab or a minibus for about another half hour directly to your destination.

By tourist bus

From Piazza Piedigrotta (Naples) and Anfiteatro (Pompeii) from 9:00 to 14:00, tourist buses leave for Vesuvius National Park. After 14:30 they take tourists back. One way ticket costs 8 €.

Useful information! You can recognize tourist buses by “big” inscription: EAVBUS.

by car

For a detailed acquaintance with Vesuvius it is better to rent a car. It will allow you to admire the beauties of the Apennine Peninsula and give you complete freedom of action. The price of hiring a car for 1 day in Naples is from 7 €.

How many unsolved mysteries and unanswered questions Vesuvius conceals. Every year Italy hosts tourists and scientists from all over the world, eager to have their say in solving these mysteries. Dangerous and therefore even more attractive, for 2 millennia it does not let mankind forget its existence.

* Prices are valid as of August 2020.

History of Vesuvius

According to experts, the formation of the explosive upland took place long before our era, more than 25,000 years ago. It is believed that it emerged from the water during the movement of the Eurasian and African tectonic plates. Rising above the smooth surface of the sea, it looked like a huge mountain, and in 79 BC it began to explode and bury several cities of the Roman Empire under a layer of lava, which was the most dangerous volcano in the world. True, even before that time Vesuvius woke up, destroying vast areas, but scientists can not set exact dates.

Modeling of the catastrophe

Today, about seven hundred thousand people live in the vicinity of Vesuvius. And in this area there are no ground evacuation routes in case of an eruption.

Moreover, only fifteen kilometers from the mountain is a millionaire city of Naples. So scientists are trying to study the activity of the intimidating giant to be able to notice the impending disaster in time.

Today they use the latest computer technology to monitor the volcano. Italian researchers have created a three-dimensional model, which made it clear that the next eruption is likely to have a destructive force not less than that observed in the death of Pompeii. And the elements could overtake the land of Italy as in a few decades, and in the coming years. And in case of untimely evacuation the number of victims could reach three hundred thousand people.

With the help of simulations it was found out that the northern and northwestern part of Vesuvius is the safest place to live.

This is due to the close proximity to Mount Somma surrounding the volcano. People living in these areas will have much more time to get away from the dangerous land.

After a detailed study it was found out that the temperature of magma at the outlet of the vent in case of an eruption will reach thousands of degrees Celsius. Lava, of course, will cool down as it moves and at a distance of seven kilometers from the epicenter it will cool down to two hundred degrees. But this is enough to arrange the absolute destruction of all life within a radius of twelve kilometers.

View of Vesuvius

Especially taking into account that in the last stage of emissions the red-hot ash with deadly poisonous gases usually falls to the ground.

Scientists have also found out that the depth of magma is constantly shrinking. For example, in 79 A.D. it was seven or eight kilometers from the surface, and in 472 this distance has decreased to three or four kilometers.

Such evidence suggests a rapidly approaching eruption with a devastating force, probably even much greater than that from which it struck Pompeii. Scientists hope for a milder impact, with a 5 km lag at the summit after magma solidified after it came into contact with the cold air.

The most powerful eruptions

Everyone on the planet has known about the most terrifying eruption of Vesuvius since high school. It occurred when the Flavius dynasty ruled the peninsula. At that time the beautiful cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplonis were built at the foot of the mountain. Despite the location near the volcano, the inhabitants did not foresee the disaster and over the centuries built their homes, traded, crafts, arts, developed culture.

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The crater of Vesuvius volcano

The sleeping volcano woke up from an earthquake, the power of which was so great that it woke up the volcano. But that was 17 years before the terrible disaster struck. The inhabitants, frightened by the earthquake, eventually calmed down, rebuilt their homes, and went about their normal lives. In August 79 the crater of the volcano began to erupt, previously alerting the neighborhood of its activity with a deafening roar from the bowels of the earth.

The terrified inhabitants ran for their lives, trying to reach the port, but the burning stones bursting out of the crater overtook them. A cloud of ash covered the city, and the red-hot lava destroyed everything in its path. Vesuvius killed more than two thousand people in just one night.

Subsequently, excavations were conducted at the site of the dead cities, which led archaeologists to marvel and helped reconstruct the events of the last day of the inhabitants of Pompeii. Under a seven-meter layer of compacted ash, houses, amphitheaters, baths, stores were preserved, and the bodies of people caught by surprise did not burn, but left imprints in the thickness of the rock. From these, figures were cast and placed in museums.

After the terrible catastrophe, Vesuvius slept for a very long time, and the fertile land, laced with ash and tuff, was again taken up by people. It is hard to imagine why they were not frightened of being close to a fire-breathing mountain, which could at any time wake up. In 1631 the volcano once again reminded itself, killing more than four thousand residents. Its bowels spewed not only lava and ash. A huge explosion of gases “demolished” the top of Vesuvius, and millions of small black crosses – crystals of pyroxenes scattered over vast distances from the crater.

View of Vesuvius from Naples

Vesuvius will not once again remind us of itself. In 1805 it completely destroyed Naples and took the lives of 26 thousand people. In the 19th century, it woke up several more times, reminding of the dangers of being close to the crater. Two powerful eruptions also occurred in the 20th century. At the end of World War II, it destroyed two cities and a U.S. military base with 80 aircraft. That was the last time the Italian giants woke up.

Interesting Facts

  1. Vesuvius has erupted more than 80 times in the history of the volcano. Interestingly, each time the eruption differs not only in its power, but also in the type of rocks erupted.
  2. In the mid-19th century on one of the slopes of the explosive mountain built an observatory. Scientists working there constantly monitor the activity of rocks in the bowels of the earth and make predictions. It is believed that this activity will avoid new victims and evacuate residents in time.
  3. The longest eruption was in 1906, it lasted 22 days.
  4. After each eruption, the volcano changes its height. In 1631, it “lost” almost 140 meters, but in 1906, it “grew” by 100 meters.
  5. On the territory of the mountain around the inner crater created a national park, open to tourists.
  6. Since 1880, there have been several attempts to create funiculars to take people to the top, but each time during earthquakes they were destroyed. Today you can only go to the top of the volcano on foot.

View from above of Vesuvius

Although the last eruption of Vesuvius occurred more than 70 years ago, scientists are now making disappointing predictions. They argue that the explosive highlands can wake up at any time, and the force of the eruption will probably be no less than the one that destroyed Pompeii. But tourists are not frightened by this fact, but, on the contrary, arouses even more interest.

Tourist attraction of Vesuvius

The area around the volcano is a National Park protected by law. There is a large tourist center in the area, whose services are used by thousands of travelers from all over the world.

The slopes of the volcano repeatedly tried to equip with chairlifts for the convenience of travelers. But because of the frequent earthquakes designs constantly collapsed. Therefore, to date, climb Vesuvius is only possible on foot on a hiking trail.

Coordinates of Vesuvius volcano

Climb the steep mountain is worthwhile in good weather conditions . Climbing the volcano in the rain can cause a lot of inconvenience and difficulties because of the wet trail. And opening views from the mountain is better to observe in sunny weather when they are most attractive.

One of the problems during the ascent to the mountain can be a scorching sun. Therefore, tourists are advised to take care in advance about the availability of headgear and closed clothing to avoid sunburns. The trail for the convenience of travelers is equipped with benches, on which, if necessary, you can take a break from the tedious ascent.

In the vicinity of Vesuvius, travelers can go on excursions to several attractions, where guides will detail the history of their origin and existence. Of these, the following are worth mentioning:

  • The royal palace of Caserta;
  • The ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum;
  • The Fields of Phlegraeus.

Vesuvius can be reached by rail, private car or by bus.

The journey by car includes three stages:

Height of Vesuvius

  1. The road to Naples.
  2. The trip along the highway A3.
  3. Hiking up the volcano.

By train you can get to the station called Ercolano-Scavi, from where you have to go to the point of ascent by shuttle bus. The direct bus runs from Piazza Piedigrotta, located in the city of Naples, to the stop “National Park”, located directly at the foot of the volcano.

Vesuvius is considered one of the most interesting tourist sites, attracting many travelers. He is as popular as even the famous volcano Etna. Each year, there are thousands of tourists wishing to tickle the nerves and be above the Vesuvian Vessel, where to take as a souvenir a sample of volcanic rock.

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