Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Mount Vesuvius

After Pompeii, it was time to visit Mount Vesuvius – the volcano that was responsible for the widespread destruction and burial of Pompeii in 79AD. That eruption ejected a cloud of stones, ash and fumes to a height of 20.5 miles, spewing molten rock and pulverized pumice at the rate of 1.5 million tons per second, ultimately releasing a hundred thousand times the thermal energy released by the Hiroshima bombing. An estimated 16,000 people died due to hydrothermal pyroclastic flows.

Vesuvius has erupted many times since and is the only volcano on the European mainland to have erupted within the last hundred years. Today, it is regarded as one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world because of the population of 3,000,000 people living nearby and its tendency towards explosive eruptions. It is the most densely populated volcanic region in the world. The guide informed us that the soil in the 

surrounding areas is very fertile leading to large scale inhabitation of prosperous farmers. In an interview the mayor of Herculaneum has stated that it would take twelve hours to evacuate the city completely in case of an emergency. Yet the residents preferred to continue living there! Reminded me of the statutory warning on cigarette packets. The last eruption was in 1944 and was not a large scale eruption as the one in 79AD.
We took a train from Pompeii to Ercolano (Herculaneum) from where we took a shared cab to the base of Mount Vesuvius. The cab waits down till you return and then takes you back to the Ercolano station. The area around Vesuvius was officially declared a national park on June 5, 1995. There is access by road to 

within 200 metres (660 ft.) of the summit (measured vertically), but thereafter access is on foot only. There is a spiral walkway around the mountain from the road to the crater. One has to pay a nominal amount to enter the path to climb up and a few feet from the entrance there is a stall stocking canes that one can pick up to 

use as a walking stick and return it to the stall keeper. It is a free service and you may leave behind a tip. We

picked up the canes and started our climb up. The views on the way up are breathtakingly beautiful. 

Once on top we peeked inside the volcano and were surprised to see smoke coming out at certain places from the inner surface. Proof that it is a living volcano!

On our return we returned the canes and left behind a couple of euros as tips. The owner was happy and gifted us pebbles that were retrieved from the bottom of the volcano as souvenirs! 
The leisurely climb up and down took us around 75 minutes.
Thankfully all the occupants of the shared cab returned to the cab on time and we were on our way back to 

Ercolano railway station for our train back to Naples.

Info sourced from Wiki and local guide.


  1. How lovely! How serene. Difficult to imagine the devastation they cause....

  2. Hari OM
    Well done - that would be far beyond my physical capabilities these days, so thanks for letting me see it!! That shot back out to the see is superb. YAM xx

  3. Great post...very informative....it must have felt so spooky no seeing smoke from the volcano...Superb captures :)

  4. Beautiful places and nice pics. Very few lucky ones get the opportunity to travel and explore. Keep it up :)

  5. wow this looks like such a beautiful place!


  6. lovely!!

  7. Fantastic trip. Thanks for taking us along. Great pictures, and in particular I like the black and white.