Place Detail


Mount Vesuvius is an active volcano located in the Gulf of Naples. About 5.6 miles east of Naples and a short distance from the shore. Vesuvius consists of a large cone partially encircled by the steep rim of a summit caldera caused by the collapse of an earlier and originally much higher structure.

The biggest eruption of Mount Vesuvius happened in AD 79 and caused the destruction of the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, as well as several other settlements located around the bay of Naples. The eruption ejected a cloud of stones, ashes and volcanic gases to a height of 21 miles, spewing molten rock and pulverized pumice. More than 1,500 people died during the 79AD eruption. The only surviving eyewitness account are two letters by Pliny the Younger to the historian writer Tacitus.

Seen from Naples, it is clear that the perfect cone is actually a volcano within another, much larger volcano. The crater of the mother mountain, Monte Somma, rings Vesuvius to the left, its slope broken off in an eruption 17000 years ago. Now the present 1276 meters (4173 feets) cone has grown and changed shape through many eruptions. The last eruption was in the 1944 during the World War II. Today, it represent one the most dangerous volcanoes in the world because of the population of 750000 people living nearby (the RED ZONE area) but it is constantly monitored by the local Observatory based in the Naples city.