October 03, 2014

Top 2 tourist attractions in south Italy when summer's over: Pompeii and Vesuvius

Mount Vesuvius, Naples
Campania, in south Italy, is the region of the Bel Paese with the most diverse offer for travel lovers. It's the region of the warm, chaotic metropolis of Naples, it's the region of the sunny and stunning Amalfi coast and the region of the elite islands of Capri and Ischia. A paradise for a summer vacation.
But when summer is over what?
There are other incredible destinations, more comfortable being explored in a warm autumn day, rather than under the hot sun of august.
The 2 top attractions for this period of the year are one next to the other: the Mount Vesuvius, the impressive volcano visible from everywhere in the bay of Naples, and, just at the feet of the mount, the fascinating excavations of the old town of Pompeii, destroyed almost 2000 years ago by the eruption of the same volcano.

Mount Vesuvius

The Vesuvius can be explored almost until the top, getting up by car or taxi until a certain level and then continuing through the walking path.
It is the most famous volcano of the earth, the only active in continental Europe, and is also one of the most dangerous since the vast territory that extends on its slopes saw the construction of houses up to 700 meters on the valley level.
It is a typical example of a fence volcano that consists of an external cone, Monte Somma (1133 meters), with a crater wall largely demolished within which there is the smaller cone of Vesuvius (1281 meters), separated by a valley called Valle del Gigante, part of the ancient crater, where later, presumably during the eruption of 79 AD, the Gran Cono or Vesuvius came out. While the height of Somma and its profile have remained the same for centuries, the height and the profile of Vesuvius have suffered considerable variations due to the following eruptions, with raisings and lowerings.
Mount Vesuvius, Naples

During colder days, vapor condensation makes visible the fumaroles present in many parts of the inner wall of the crater. Continuing along the edge of the crater, looking towards the sea you can grasp the full extent of the southern part of the volcano and, during days with good visibility, the entire Gulf of Naples from Sorrento peninsula to Cape Misenum, Procida and Ischia. It is also inevitable to note the large number of buildings built along the slopes of the volcano.
Mount Vesuvius, Naples


It's instead easy to reach the enigmatic Pompeii also by bus from Naples, Sorrento or Salerno.
The thriving resort of wealthy Romans, that in 79 AD was buried in ashes by the Vesuvius devastating eruption seems to be an easier place to explore, but don't think to go there for an afternoon or even worse a couple of hours, as cruise passengers do. Remember that it is not a couple of monuments preserved  from the past. It is a whole city that came back to light as it was at the Roman empire times, with squares, main streets and narrow alleys, theaters, temples, shops, baths and even cemeteries. Just to cross it in a random way you would need half a day, so get ready with comfortable shoes and a bottle of water!
Pompeii, Naples

What fascinates and makes of Pompeii, from the standpoint of historical and artistic interest, a unique place in the world is the possibility to reconstruct, step by step, the daily life of the inhabitants of a city that a catastrophic event such as the eruption of Vesuvius has made immortal, walking along the streets paved with basalt lava, while wandering through ancient temples, the forum, the amphitheater (one of the largest among those known nowadays), and luxurious houses decorated with wall paintings and mosaics.

Discover if other travelers left their travel hints about these destinations on Gadders!

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