There is something fairly foreboding about a volcano, especially one that is not extinct and hasn’t erupted for seventy years. When will it go again you may be thinking? Vesuvius and the wonderfully preserved ruins of Pompeii receive huge numbers of tourists each year and if you are considering an Italian holiday you should look at Naples and its surroundings very closely indeed.
There is the richness that can be found throughout Italy, the wonderful Italian cuisine that has evolved over the years based upon olive oil and locally produced fresh produce. No other city though can offer you the chance of going to see such a famous volcano.
Pompei and Pompeii
If your base is Naples, one of the tours you should certainly do is a trip that incorporates the modern town of Pompei, the ruins of Pompeii and Vesuvius itself. Pompei gets tourists in its own right. It is where many go to pay their respects to the Madonna in a place where a 19th century miracle cured a child suffering from epilepsy. Many hope for similar miracles to cure their ailments and the revenue they have brought to the town has been most welcome.
International travellers may concentrate more on the Roman ruins. Daily life in ancient Rome is portrayed in the Antiquarium di Boscoreale with a whole variety of exhibits. They range from fishing rods to dormice cages. The riches of Pompeii are held in many museums in the world and as a result photographs of exhibits held elsewhere are also displayed on the walls.
The eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD had the benefit of preserving Pompeii far better than the weather worn remains in Rome. The frescoes still adorn the walls of the buildings which are largely complete. The excavation project is far from complete and fairly recently a large frescoed leisure complex was found when roadwork was being done on a local motorway.
It is certainly worth taking one of the many official tours from Naples because you can then be certain of getting official and accurate information on what you are seeing rather than rely on local guides who are not always as knowledgeable as they seem.
Vesuvius was probably 600 metres higher before the 79AD eruption. It was green and well vegetated; it would not really appear to be much of a threat. It is a rich and fertile area that today’s population use to their benefit; all 700,000 of them that would be close enough if another eruption occurred.
If you decide to mix your enjoyment of Naples to see other attractions you may also decide to go down to Capri or Sorrento neither of which are quite as chaotic as Naples and there is time to relax away from the bustle and just take in the surroundings over a coffee. This is a beautiful and dramatic coastline and well worth the effort to jump aboard a tour to let the locals show you its delights.