Vesuvius National Park is home to perhaps one of the most famous volcanoes of all time. Following the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD - ash and lava poured down onto the surrounding cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, tragically killing all who resided there but well preserving their remains, even till this day. A visit to this spectacular natural wonder and its neighbouring towns is the highlight of any Italian trip and is sure to be a learning experience for anyone.
Below you'll a few facts about Mount Vesuvius that will be handy when exploring this amazing destination.
The city of Pompeii is an excellently preserved ancient Roman town and is definitely worth a visit. It is recommended that you allocate at least a few hours, if not all day, for strolling through its cobblestone streets. A guided tour is best for this site as there are very few descriptions within the city walls. A tour guide can best explain all of the different sites and provide a brief history on them, making for a much more enriching experience.
The city of Herculaneum is another exquisite preserved ancient Roman town, located on the outskirts of the base of Mount Vesuvius. When the volcano erupted in 79 A.D. boiling mud and lava swept through the town, encasing everything within and conserving it. For a true look at what Roman life was like, a visit to Herculaneum will tell a story that no other location can.
If you are the adventurous type - the Vesuvius backpack trail might be just the thing, and viewing the volcano's crater up close will be an experience that can't be forgotten. A Mount Vesuvius tour which will take you up to the crest of the volcano is about a 20 minute hike. It is highly recommended that you wear good hiking shoes for this walk. Once at the top you will be treated to breathtaking views of the surrounding area. You can also partake in a three hour hike around the crater rim of one of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes.
When travelling to Mount Vesuvius, one of the easiest ways to reach this destination is by train. The Circumvesuviana (a railway company) runs out of Naples and services the surrounding areas around Mount Vesuvius. It services both the Pompeii and Herculaneum ruins and also travels to Sorrento. This convenient service is both a fast and cost effective travel method to visit these areas.
As mentioned before, Mount Vesuvius is currently a dormant volcano but it is still considered to be active. Its last eruption was in 1944 and there is currently an evacuation plan in place, if another eruption seemed eminent. If this volcano were to erupt again, it would affect close to 2.5 million people. Due to the violent eruptions that shadow its past, it makes for an exciting stop on your Italy tour. Whether you are interested in the historical sites that have been preserved by its ash and lava flows, or if you come seeking adventure, Mount Vesuvius has something to please every traveler.