Mt. Vesuvius. One of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes! The only active volcano in mainland Europe.
Danger. Volcano. Physical activity. All words that brought attention when researching things to do in the Naples area while on our recent cruise. As a little girl, I was interested in the tragic story of Pompeii and the eruption on August 24, 79AD. When I found out I could hike the volcano that caused such a catastrophic event, I planned my day around it!
With the force of 100,000 atomic bombs, Mt. Vesuvius erupted spewing gas and volcanic ash high up into the air in the shape of what Pliny the Younger described as an umbrella pine. (I suggest some research on the story of Pliny and his uncle who went to the rescue after the eruption. Plinian eruptions were named after his description of the violent, quickly expanding clouds into the atmosphere.)
The eruption, lasting about 24 hours, caused about 16,000 deaths in the area, including people in the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Some people were buried alive by tephra fragments while others died from the pyroclastic surge, or cloud of toxic gas. Herculaneum is better preserved due to being covered in mud instead of flaming pumice like Pompeii, due to the direction of the wind.