What we call "Vesuvius" is really the younger part of the mountain complex that geologists call "Greater Vesuvius." The older part of the mountain, now an extinct volcano, is called Monte Somma. A fresco recovered from Pompeii shows a single summit--and much taller--Monte Somma covered in vegetation before the eruption of 79 AD.
In 1995, the area around Vesuvius was formed into the Parco Nazionale del Vesuvio, the National Park of Vesuvius.
Current Dangers of VesuviusIt is estimated that 2.5 million people could be affected by a significant eruption of Vesuvius. Conditions are closely monitored. There is a plan in place for the evacuation of people nearest the volcano that assumes between two weeks and 20 days notice of an eruption.
Viewing the Crater of Mount Vesuvius
Buses can take visitors to within 200 meters of the summit of Vesuvius. There you can buy a ticket to the top, and also purchase refreshments, souvenirs and even clothing. Remember that it can be considerably cooler at the summit, especially when there are low clouds.
Once you have purchased you ticket, you ascend on a wide trail of volcanic stone pocked with larger rocks. Staunch shoes are recommended. The trail switches back several times, then circles the crater. Refreshments are found at the summit and at an intermediate point along the trail.
At the summit you can hire a guide, buy a guidebook, or just peek into the crater on your own.
Join us for a virtual visit to the crater of Mt. Vesuvius and the spectacular views through the clouds to the Bay of Naples.