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Sleeping in the shadow of a volcano-Vesuvio

August 18, 2011

Vesuvius ranks among the most explored and well known volcanoes on earth. On clear days one can see the silhouette of the gigantic mountains of the volcano from the whole Bay of Naples.

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The volcano has been inactive since 1944, but is always monitored by scientists, measuring the temperature and taking notes (just in case). After all, one can never be too careful when living so close to such a force of potential destruction.

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Most famous for its eruption 79 A.D. when the streams of lava buried Pompeii and Herculaneum today anyone can have a look at the remains of a once flourishing community in the National Archaeological Museum in Naples

Vesuvius is known for it’s incredible crater, named il Gran Cono that has a diameter of 700m, a circumference of 12km and is 200m deep. This is the reason why this sleeping giant is a well-known tourist attraction that brings the brave and the curious from all over the world every year.

Today, the settlements at the foot of the Vesuvius are today again densely populated and the volcano remains a very popular tourist attraction, even though no-one knows when it could erupt again and what kind of devastation it could bring this time.


Still, if this is your cup of tea, here are some general information about sightseeing, taken from

Journey and Ascent:

By car: From Naples with the A3, take the Torre del Greco or Ercolano exit.
By Circumvesuviana (train) : Get off in Ercolano and drive by bus to the car park. A road leads you up through beautiful vineyards, lava fields and the valleys Valle del Gigante and Valle dell’Inferno. One can smell the typical smell of broom bushes between May and August.
On foot the ascent leads you from the 1000m high parking spot with its Souvenir and refreshment stands over a gravel road to the top. When the weather is fine visitors can enjoy a fantastic panoramic view.
The ascent to the edge of the crater costs 6 Euro. It closes between 15 and 18 hours depending on the season. It is recommendable to visit the Vesuvius on working days, as locals like to visit it on weekends and this can lead to traffic jams.

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