Even if the whole Neapolitan area is volcanic, the volcano of Naples it the Vesuvius. It is a volcano that has inspired many artists such as Andy Warhol, who has proposed a colourful series dedicated to it and named Vesuvius.
The Vesuvius is part of the past and the present of our city and even if it is still active nobody fears it but rather considers it an old gigantic friend sitting placidly on the background of Naples, surrounded by smaller towns and looking patiently at our frenetic lives.
Exploring the Vesuvius
The volcano of Naples is easily reachable with buses, by joining tours or by renting a car. Once you get there, you can choose between a variety of excursions that we can summarize in two kinds of experience.
The visit to the Vesuvius crater is recommended for families with children older than 8 years. In this case, it is possible to reach an altitude of 1000 m by public transport and then go on foot up to 1200 m. From that height, you can see the Somma crater, the neoformation of Colle Umberto and the city of Naples. With the supervision of volcanological guides, you can also visit part of the inside of the crater. The crater of the Naples volcano has a diameter of 700 m with a circumference of 12 km. The volcano area comprehends two volcanoes: Monte Somma and Vesuvius (Gran Cono).
Visiting the volcano of Naples, you can stare at interesting phenomena such as ionization of gases and the observation of fumaroles. This kind of trip generally lasts around 90 minutes. If you are not used to this kind of excursion, it is highly recommended to buy sticks to help yourself in walking on the steep surface of the volcano. Also, it is recommended closed and non-slip shoes. Windbreakers and sunglasses are necessary too.
Vesuvius National Park
The experience of the Vesuvius National Park is very different and much more suitable for all the family. In that area, you can observe the fauna that includes Domestic Pine, Leccio, Robinia, Chestnut, Birch, Neapolitan Alder, Roverella, Maple, White Hornbeam, Hazelnut, Hawthorn, Lentisk, Myrtle, Orchid, Broom, Valerian, Helichrysum, Pteris vittata and Stereocaulon vesuvianum.
Plus, if you are very lucky, you can see rare species of animals such as woodcocks, goldfinches, ravens, woodpeckers, hoopoes, woodpigeons, buzzards, kestrels, barns owls, deer, rat snakes, rabbits, dormice, and foxes.
Usually, a trip to the volcano of Naples lasts 5 or 6 hours. Organized tours include transportation and assistance but not lunch, drinks or admission tickets to excursions on the crater or in the national park.
The symbol of Napoli
Have you ever received a postcard from Naples?
Probably it represents the beautiful gulf of Naples with the Vesuvius towering on the background. In fact, this volcano has always been the icon of our city and part of the history, life, geography of the city and its surroundings since ancient times. Not to talk about the food because of the delicious fruits of the fertile volcanic earth. Nowadays it is the only active volcano of continental Europe together with the Sicilian Etna.
The Vesuvius stands with its 1281 meters of height within an external cone, Mount Somma and is surrounded by a national park set up in 1995 as environmental protection. It also boasts a seismic observatory still operating, which is the oldest one in the world since it was founded by King Ferdinando II Borbone in 1841.
All this puts the Vesuvius among the most famous Neapolitan tourist attractions. But it has been so in the past as well. From 1880 to 1944 a cable railway took tourists up to the Volcano inspiring the composition of a song become famous all over the world: Funiculì Funiculà. The Vesuvius has been described by writers as Leopardi, Goethe, Boccaccio, Virgilio, Plinio il Vecchio, but its eruptions have also caused the death of thousands of people. The last one was in 1944 whereas others took place in 1906, 1631 back to the most famous one in 79 A.D. It was the one that destroyed Pompei, Ercolano and Stabiae burying the cities and their inhabitants with ashes, lapillus and lava flows.