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Experience The Famous Volcanoes Of Naples

Posted on Jul 10, 2013 by in Europe, Italy | 0 comments

For centuries the volcanoes of Naples have loomed over this ancient land threatening to erupt and destroy all they encounter in their paths. These majestic albeit dark foreboding silhouettes on the horizon that have stood for more than time itself watching over the cities and villages below them, have a certain appeal that makes man want to experience their size and power at close hand. Of course this is during the times when these sleeping giants are quiet or simply rumbling in the distance as they so often have the tendency to do.

 

Mount Vesuvius is to say the least an impressive sight even from a distance, but so is the volcano that is situated on the island of Ischia which lies north of the Gulf of Naples. The fact that this volcanic island is just 30 kilometres from Naples did have a few people worried last year when it was thought that it was about to erupt.

There are 60,000 people living on this small island in the Tyrrhenian Sea and there is a thriving tourist trade that caters for visitors who go to the island for the natural thermal spas and springs that have evolved on the island through the volcanic activity that has gone on here for centuries. The last time this volcano erupted was 700 years ago, but there are serious concerns about the amount of magna building up in Ischia which is getting bigger as time marches on. Many experts believe that should Ischia erupt then the results could be even more disastrous than if Vesuvius did.

Coast of Ischia

 

However, this does not deter the thousands of visitors who descend on the island to rid themselves of their aches and pains in the warm thermal waters of Ischia. Apart from this there is a superb castle on the island that dates back to 474 BC called the Aragonese Castle. As well as this wonderfully historical site there are also some of the most exquisite gardens on the island so if you are visiting Ischia to see the volcano, take in a thermal bath and see the gorgeous castle, you have to visit the gardens of La Mortella, Villa Ravion and La Colombaia which are simply out of this world.

Aragonese Castle

 

Of course the most famous volcano in Naples in Vesuvius. This giant in the distance was responsible for the destruction of the cities of Pompei and Herculaneum in AD 79. These cities remained buried for centuries until they were rediscovered in the 18th century. This eruption changed the shape of the land as well as the volcano itself the force of it was so great. Vesuvius has erupted many times since this ancient volcanic disaster and it is believed to be the most dangerous volcano on the planet. This is due to the fact that so many people live close to it. The regions around Mount Vesuvius are the most densely populated in a volcanic are in the entire world.

This now dormant giant is steeped in mythological stories and legends and today it attracts visitors from every corner of the world, These enthusiastic travellers want to experience the walk up the slopes of an active volcano. Visitors can get access by road right up to around 200 metres of the summit after which it is a long slow climb to the craters edge up a spiral walkway that takes you around the mountain. The views from here are quite spectacular both deep inside the crater and the surrounding vistas of Naples, the coastline as well as inland.

The whole area around this active volcano is now officially a national park and has been since 1995. The fact that so many people visit this location every year has meant that the authorities really do maintain the area very well. They also keep an eye on people who walk up the slopes of Vesuvius as well as what the volcano itself is actually doing making sure that it is totally safe for people to get close to the crater of Vesuvius. The photo opportunities this trek offers you are absolutely brilliant.

Photos Of Mount Vesuvius

 

 

 

Mount Vesuvius Trail by Averain, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  Averain 

 

The authorities monitor Vesuvius extremely closely and measure the amount of magna that the volcano expels when it threatens to erupt. They have come to think that although Vesuvius can remain dormant for thousands of years it does not mean it will always remain so. There was an eruption in 1631 and then another impressive one in 1944, but in between there have been many more smaller ones. The one thing they do seem sure about is that there can be a long wait in the build up to an eruption and that sooner or later this will happen on Vesuvius.

A view of Mount Vesuvius from Pompeii.

 

When you visit sites like Pompei, it makes you appreciate just how massive the destruction an erupting volcano can actually cause as it rips through the land with its lava flows killing everything instantly in its path. However, these volcanoes are majestic and when you see Vesuvius and Ischia in real life, you understand why ancient civilisations revered them and created legends around them.

We as visitors flock to these volcanoes to witness their magnificence but for the people of the surrounding areas and especially Naples, these sleeping giants are a constant threat on the horizon. There are contingency plans in place to evacuate the entire region should either of these famous volcanoes ever erupt and when you think about the logistics of an operation like this, you understand just what a threat these volcanoes actually represent.

For the moment both Vesuvius and Ischia are dormant. People still flock to the island of Ischia to enjoy the marvels of the thermal waters and springs just as Naples and its superb historical sites and beautiful countryside, attracts thousands of travellers every year. Many of whom just can’t resist getting a close up look at two of the most famous and worrying volcanoes in Europe.

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