Up to Mount Vesuvius’ crater!
Active tourism in the Mount Vesuvius National Park
The area of Ercolano at the foot of Mount Vesuvius is one of the most fascinating and interesting areas in Italy, because of both its wonderful nature and its great contradictions. The ideal destination for an intense journey, full of different tastes.
The best surprise is nature. Last summer, I climbed up the Mount Vesuvius following the path number 4 across the National Park and I reached the Vesuvius State Nature Reserve “Tirone Alto”. You can choice a short trekking trail of about three hours, or a long one which takes a full day. During my trip I saw unbelievable sceneries: Bushes in their full flower, a wood completely unspoiled with its biodiversity, the volcanic rock that makes this area so special.
Then I climbed up the crater. Enjoy the nature, but don’t miss a visit at the Vesuvius Observatory. It tells the history of the Mount Vesuvius from the geological age untill the classical age: that is from the origin of the volcano in the 400.000 b.C. to the great eruption of the 79 described by Plinio, till the last eruption of 1944.
In the nearby, you have to visit the Excavations of Herculaneum, it’s worthy! There’s something else not to be missed: The Virtual Archaeological Museum with its historical and archaeological reconstructions. It is an interactive experience to literally get in touch with our past.
What about the contradictions… The Bed & Breakfast I slept in, called “Fuoc Muort”, is also a farm producing its home-wine. Nearby I met Mr Antonio, a proud friend of Maradona, who cultivates here the Vesuvian tomatoes DOC. Everything let you think that I was in the countryside, but actually I was still in the city centre of Ercolano! These brave farmers cultivate every last centimetre of the volcanic fertile soil, but the unstoppable growing is always under threat of an inevitable and expected new eruption… But you know, people from Ercolano are masters in touching wood!
Visit Naples: helpful hints
Italian name: Napoli
Naples has its own international airport, connected to the city centre by a bus (it takes 15 minutes and it costs 5€). For transcontinental flights you have to stop in other airports, Rome is the closest one.
In Naples you find both buses, subways and funicular. The ticket is the same for all the transports and it costs 1,5€. For more information check the ANM website. If you prefer to visit the city on foot, here you can find an idea for you tour.
What to do
Naples is the capital city of Campania region, in Southern Italy. Naples is on a beautiful Gulf, extended from the Sorrento Peninsula to the volcaninc area called Phlegrean Fields, on the background the huge Vesuvius, one of the two active volcanoes in Italy. In the Gulf, three famous islands – Capri, Ischia and Procida. The historical centre of Naples is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995, the most important monuments are the Dome, Palazzo Reale and the Maschio Angioino.
Speaking of food, Naples is the city where Pizza is born!
Where to sleep
The best place to sleep in Naples is of course the city centre. Other very good alternatives are Posilippo and Vomero area, the harbor and the University area, the boardwalk and the more expensive Chiaia area.