Our Monday stroll through the ancient city of Pompeii was brought full-circle today as we visited Vesuvio, the volcano responsible for preserving the ancient cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum through its’ volcanic eruption in 79 AD. If you’re planning a trip to Pompeii, in general it would be a good idea to visit Vesuvio on the same day. Unfortunately it was not possible for us to do so because we drove over a giant nail on the way to Pompeii on Monday… That is a story for another blog, but you must understand that driving in the province of Napoli should be done with a prayer on the lips and a hand on the horn!
Vesuvio last erupted in 1944 and is one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world as a population of near 3,000,000 people would be affected by an eruption. (None of the subsequent eruptions after 79AD were as large or destructive, although they still caused damage to small villages.) This can be witnessed as you drive up to the beginning of the summit, where you will see hotel/bed and breakfast/bar/restaurants once functioning but now deserted with an eerie ambience I’ve only witnessed at Chernobyl. Once closer to the summit, you can park for an informal €5. You can observe a small picnic area, which we took great advantage of with our own packed lunch since there are not a lot of great food options. After paying our €10 entrance fee, we began our steady climb up the switch-backs that led us to the crater of Vesuvio. Moderate exercise, breathtaking views of Capri and the amalfi coast, as well as the mountain itself, made the experience more than worthwhile. If we had to give any pieces of advice, we’d recommend wearing sneakers/tennis shoes, bringing an extra outer layer (jacket or sweater), and bringing your own food and drink. If you’ve made the trek all the way to Napoli and Pompeii, don’t ignore the opportunity to get to Vesuvio!