Mount Vesuvius is the only active volcano on mainland Europe and it is one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. In spite of the threat of eruption now overdue, people still live and in fact build even within the lava flow formed by earlier eruptions.
The population of Naples, which is only 8 miles from the volcano, is 967,000 (2018) and in the case of an eruption of any consequence, the lives of thousands would be at risk.The volcano is best known for the eruption in AD79 which engulfed the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Vesuvius has actually erupted more than 50 times.
Mount Vesuvius is actually a stratovolcano which is a type of volcano that is highly explosive and dangerous with the risk of fast moving lava flows which is fluidised rock. It can sometimes outpace you running from it.
A major eruption in 1631 killed 3000 people and buried nearby villages. The last major eruption in 1944 lasted for two weeks and destroyed dozens of aircraft at Pompeii airport. Fortunately on that occasion there were no injuries.
Attempts are being made to reduce the number of people living in the path of a likely pyroclastic flow. At this time about 600,000 people are living in the red zone.
Naples, which to Italians is “Napoli” is derived from the Greek word meaning “new city” and it was founded in the second century BC by the ancient Greeks. Naples is the capital of Italy’s Campania region. It is the third biggest city in Italy after Rome and Milan.
It has a fine Cathedral known as Duomo di Napoli and construction commenced in 1266 and was completed in 1435.
Fun fact: Pizza as we know it today was invented in the early 19th century.
Naples is famous for its many castles, seven of them and most can be visited. Naples is a hilly city and several funiculars are there to make transport easier and the Central Funicular built in 1928 is now the most used funicular in the world. The city centre is actually the largest city centre in Europe. The Port of Naples is one of the biggest passenger ports in Europe with more than 6.5 million passengers each year. Naples has the most Michelin Star restaurants in Italy. A wonderful city to visit but watch out for reckless driving whether scooters or cars.