Vesuvius, the most famous volcano in the world, legends, history and information for visiting it

Andy Warhol Vesuvius the volcano Vesuvius
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It is probably one of the most photographed volcanoes in recent centuries. Who can't recognize him in that wonderful postcard, immortalized by the Posillipo hill, which now represents the most significant symbol of Naples?

That is the Vesuvius.

We are talking about a volcano which collects fear and magic at the same time. Oh yes, because when we talk about Vesuvius we fail to make us remember the famous and destructive eruption of the 1631, which caused more than 4000 dead.

We obviously cannot remember it, but we have all heard of catastrophe of the 79 dC, when it washes it submerged and destroyed the cities of Herculaneum, Pompeii, Stabia and other areas south-east of the mountain.

This is history that has been handed down over the centuries and that has left its testimonies in museums and among the excavations that are still the subject of tourist flows and observations by archaeologists.


Location of Vesuvius

We could define it the "God of the Sea", because this volcano rules the entire Gulf of Naples. It is located practically to the south-east of the city, inside a basin of 4km in diameter, which is what remains of the Monte-Somma, probably sunk in the calamity of the 79 dC

In effect, the full name of Vesuvius would be Somma-Vesuvius, due to its structural form. It rises for well 1281 mt (estimate of 2010) with a crater of 450 mt in diameter and, as we all know, is still active, although apparently "dormant".

Il Gran Cono, as it is defined, is one of the most studied volcanoes in the world. We must think that its slopes currently live well over three million people, so it is obvious that every tiny and imperceptible activity of this giant is now kept under strict control, in an attempt to be able to foresee any kind of move well in advance.

The Vesuvius Observatory has placed an infinite number of sensors to monitor the occult activities of the volcano but Nature, as we know, can always amaze us with its strength and its unexpected volatility.

Think of what is called today the Red Zone of Vesuvius, that is the one at very high risk, the presences are at least 600.000 and, despite the National Emergency Plan devised in 1995 on paper, it is considered impossible, in case of immediate need, to be able to evacuate the area.

The Vesuvius National Park

Anyone who wants to get closer to the volcano and appreciate its vastness can do so by visiting the Vesuvius National Park, 5 June 1995 inaugurated. 11 are the paths that can be traveled, for a total of 54 km, to admire the most significant areas of this area.

All are perfectly marked by special signs that, in addition to serving as a signal, also contains the main descriptions of what is encountered in these wonderful excursions.

The Parco del Vesuvio has been strongly desired not only to protect the volcano, what has been the most historical and precious thing our planet has offered us in this story that has lasted well over 400.000 years, but also to protect its flora and fauna, typical of the area.

Vesuvius and its legends

Vesuvius, during his lifetime, was associated with Zeus and his Mount Olympus. Others saw him more tied to the God of wine Bacchus, for the amphorae found in Pompeii.

It is not true if any of these beliefs were true, but we certainly learn that after the tragedy of 79 AD people began to think that the eruptions of Vesuvius were a sort of big divine punishment, due to the anger and anger of God towards the pagan people of the Vesuvians, who spent their days in idleness, in ease and in luxury, slaves of vices and money.

Thus Vesuvius became the symbol of the flames of Hell.

From here, with the imagination that the Neapolitans impersonate, there have been other stories, which have been handed down from generation to generation, such as the birth of Pulcinella.

It seems that this Neapolitan mask came out of the shell of a magic egg found at the foot of Mount Somma, at the behest of the God Pluto, because two sorcerers would have called for the arrival of someone who could finally "save" the people from oppression and injustice.

How to get to the Vesuvius

Tourists who decide to visit it can walk the suggestive path that leads them up to the Gran Cono, ie the internal crater, an area from which one can admire the most beautiful sight on the coast, the sea and the immense province of Naples. To get to the crater you must first arrive at the Piazzale at an altitude of 1000 meters from which the itinerary begins.

Want to learn more about how to get there by car, train, bus or other means?

Important tips for visiting Vesuvius

Unfortunately, not everyone knows that on the top of Vesuvius cell phones have no reception and that, due to Covid, the ticket office at the top has been closed.
It is therefore important that you purchase tickets in advance.

Unfortunately, there are numerous touts on the site which you absolutely must not rely on.

Comfortable and resistant trekking shoes are important and remember that you have to walk, there is wind and there are no shaded areas.
Bring fresh water but don't consume it voraciously, there is only one bathroom inside the only bar, used by thousands of tourists a day.

Tickets can be purchased only and exclusively from the official website:

Timetables for visiting the Vesuvius crater

Visiting hours of the crater vary according to the monthly rate as follows

  • January: 9: 00 - 15: 00
  • February: 9: 00 - 15: 00
  • March: 9: 00 - 16: 00
  • April: 9: 00 - 17: 00
  • May: 9: 00 - 17: 00
  • June: 9: 00 - 17: 00
  • July: 9: 00 - 18: 00
  • August: 9: 00 - 18: 00
  • September: 9: 00 - 17: 00
  • October: 9: 00 - 16: 00
  • November: 9: 00 - 15: 00
  • December: 9: 00 - 15: 00

Prices for a visit to the cone of Vesuvius

Full ticket: 10 €
Reduced ticket: 8 €
Free ticket for:

  • Disabled at 100%
  • Children accompanied under 1.2mt
  • Representatives of public bodies
  • Residents in the municipalities of the park community provided with an identification document on the occasion of relevant events
  • Exclusive guides to the park of Vesuvius
  • Scholars and researchers expressly authorized
  • Teachers in higher classes than the 25 students
  • Tour leaders above the 25 elements

Where to buy tickets for Vesuvius

Tickets can only be purchased online at or through packages that also include transfer. There is no ticket office and telephones have no reception, so purchase them in advance and don't rely on the touts on the site.

Vesuvius entrance ticket SaltaLaFila online

Shuttle to Vesuvius from Naples

Affordable hotels near Vesuvius


Events on the Vesuvius

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