Mount Vesuvius and the city of Herculaneum

Mount Vesuvius (1289 meters) dominates the landscape around the city of Naples, located approximately 20 km from it. Its eruption in AD 79 he destroyed and buried the Roman cities around him, including Pompeii and Herculaneum. Although the toll is unknown, more than 1,000 people are believed to have died in the eruption.

The area around the mountain is the most densely populated volcanic region in the world and the most dangerous, as 3,000,000 people live close enough to be affected by a new eruption.

The volcano has erupted many times before, the last eruption being in 1944, but none of them were as destructive as the one in 79 AD.

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From Naples you can reach the parking lot at the base of the mountain in just half an hour by car or bus.

We rented a car from the airport and bought the tickets 2 days before. They can only be purchased online and cost €11/person. If you go by car you have to pay an extra €6 for parking and you have 4 hours to go up to the top and down.

From the parking lot you can go up on foot (40 minutes) or by shuttle (20 minutes) to “Il Gran Cono”. We chose to go up on foot to enjoy the magnificent view.


From the top you can admire the beauty of the Bay of Naples, but also the islands of Procida, Ischia and Capri. The round trip takes around 3 hours, depending on how much time you spend at the top, but you have to fit in the 4 hours of paid parking if you’re driving.

The crater has a diameter of 450 meters and a depth of 300 meters. To ensure the safety of all visitors, entry on the road leading to the crater is restricted to groups of 50 people.

On the way to the crater there are a few shops selling refreshments, snacks and souvenirs and toilets (which were not functional when we were there).

After about 3 hours of hiking we also wanted to visit the cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii buried after the devastating eruption of the volcano, but because we don’t have much time we had to choose to visit only one of them.

Herculaneum is less known and visited than Pompeii, but just as interesting and with a fantastic view. It was completely destroyed in the eruption of AD 79, although it was located further from Vesuvius than Pompeii. Because of this, parts of the Roman city remained intact.

Herculaneum was discovered by chance in 1709 when a farmer found some pieces of marble while digging for a well. Regular excavations began in 1738 and since then houses, taverns, statues, papyrus scrolls and even perfectly preserved food have been found.

Although the excavations are not as extensive as Pompeii, I recommend visiting Herculaneum because it is less crowded with tourists and there are more things to see. The ticket price is 11€/person.

(Naples – August 2022)


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