WELCOME TO VESUVIUS
A panoramic overview of a sleeping giant
A journey in discovery of the sleeping giant
S tanding at 1282 metres above sea level, overlooking the bay and the city of Naples, Vesuvius has produced several of the earth’s largest volcanic eruptions. The eruption dating back to 79 A. D. is the most famous. Not only did it kill more than 16,000 people but also destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum. At a distance of almost 2,000 years, to tourists visiting the remains of the devastated cities, it appears that time has stood still. The fl ows of mud, lava and pumice buried people, dwellings and objects. Hundreds of years later, archaeologists excavated Pompeii and found everything and everyone that had been there that day perfectly preserved by the volcano's ash.
Other violent eruptions occurred between 1700 and1900, the last one dating back to 1944.
Vesuvius is currently dormant. In spite of its destructive potential, the volcano continues to hold an enormous appeal for visitors. Ascending to its crater is an unforgettable experience, both on account of its breathtaking view over the Gulf of Naples and the natural beauties encountered along the way. Visitors can choose from a number of itineraries, from the shortest one, lasting about one hour, to more strenuous ones, recommended for experienced hikers only. The area is distinguished by its lush fl ora and fauna, enveloped in a landscape beset by an almost religious silence for fear of waking the sleeping giant, which forms an ever- present backdrop to the life of Neapolitans who have learnt to co- exist with the capricious whims of nature. Rather than being overcome by fear, despite its deadly potential, they tend to exploit the best that it has to off er. Proof of this is given by the workshops of Torre del Greco known not only for the working of coral but also for that of the hard, dark lava stone from Vesuvius. The foot of the con volcano is dotted with numerous small, closely packed towns each known for their own specifi c production capabilities, from coral to pasta. Ente Parco Nazionale del Vesuvio. Piazza Municipio 8, San Sebastiano al Vesuvio. T: 0817710911 www. parconazionaledelvesuvio. it A series of magnifi cent villas enrich the stretch from Portici to Torre Annunziata, the so- called ‘ Golden Mile’ where, in the 18th century, the Neapolitan aristocracy built their homes, in order not to be outdone by Charles, one of the greatest Bourbon kings who had a magnifi cent palace constructed for himself in Portici. Over the past few years, although 121 of these villas have been renovated, not all of them are open to public viewing. In summer, the most beautiful host concerts and cultural events organized by Ente Ville Vesuviane ( T: 081404089), including the Festival delle Ville Vesuviane, an international theatre event held at Villa Campolieto. When in the area, make sure not to miss a visit to the complex of the early Christian basilicas of Cimitile.