Park of Vesuvius, the giant looking at Naples

Campania is a region rich in places great charm and importance, Vesuvius is a symbol of Naples, threatening and friend at the same time, in a relationship of many years. Exploring the Vesuvius National Park combines history, nature and adventure.

The Vesuvius Park is an incredible site because it offers not only breathtaking landscapes, but also a unique window on the geological and cultural history of the region. 

Undoubtedly, the Vesuvius National Park and where it is located are tangible evidence of the strength and beauty of nature, as well as a concentration of the history of the territory.

Vesuvius National Park to protect flora and fauna and geological wealth

The Vesuvius National Park officially saw the light in June 1995 with the main aim of protecting plant and animal species, as well as the geological richness of the Vesuvius territory.

The area of the park embraces the homonymous volcano, one of the most famous in the world for the historical consequences of its eruptions. With the eruption of 79 AD, Vesuvius buried the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum under layers of ash and lapilli.

From a geological point of view, it is a quiescent volcano with a stratified cone that rises majestically over the surrounding plain. Its eruptions helped shape the surrounding landscape, creating a unique environment of flora and fauna adapted to volcanic conditions.

What to see in the Vesuvius National Park: the paths 

The natural beauty of the Vesuvius National Park is the absolute protagonist. Visitors can enjoy scenic hikes along one of the eleven signposted trails that traverse forests and vegetation.

Let’s see the possible excursions offered by the official trails of the Vesuvius National Park:

  • “The Valley of Hell”: With about ten kilometers, this itinerary offers a challenging adventure through the narrow bends around the Vallone Tagliente, offering breathtaking views of the Cognoli di Levante;
  • “Along the Cognoli”: It is a suggestive path with ups and downs and spectacular views leading to Largo Prisco;
  • “Il Monte Somma”: This is an easy loop itinerary that allows you to explore the volcanic history with views of the lava river and views of the Gulf of Naples;
  • “Through the Tirone Reserve”: It is a quiet itinerary through a suggestive wood (that of the Tirone-Alto Vesuvio Forest Reserve) that offers an extraordinary view of the park;
  • “The Gran Cono”: Popular among visitors, this path leads from Piazzale Ercolano to the Gran Cono giving the view of Monte Somma and allowing the excursion on Vesuvius;
  • “La Strada Matrone”: Follow the road marked by the Matrone brothers to reach the Gran Cono, but you can admire the lava vents that opened over a century ago;
  • “The Valley of Profica”: It is less known than other routes and allows you to explore the less known side of Mount Somma and reach a pine forest;
  • “Il Trenino a Cremagliera”: Following the route of the old rack train to go up to Vesuvius from San Sebastiano, this route offers some challenging slopes;
  • “The Lava River”: This is a short path recently inaugurated, which allows you to walk on a lava flow and admire an environment reminiscent of the moon;
  • “L’Olivella”: This path leads to the springs of Olivella, through the countryside of Sant’Anastasia;
  • “La pineta di Terzigno”: It is a flat path surrounded by a thick pine forest.

With its fifty-four kilometers of different paths, the Vesuvius National Park Trail offers an immersion experience in nature (also thanks to the information provided on natural and historical features) and at the same time mitigates risks along the paths.

Foto: Unsplash

Visit to the Gran Cono del Vesuvio 

The hike along the path of the Gran Cono offers an experience enriched by the emotion of walking around the crater and the spectacular panorama that embraces much of Campania to Lazio.

The enclosed volcano has a distinctive profile, consisting of two cones: the outer cone trunk, known as Mount Somma, and the inner cone, known as Vesuvius. These two cones are separated by the Valle del Gigante, subdivided in turn into Atrio del Cavallo to the west and Valle dell’Inferno to the east. 

The slopes of the volcano are crossed by radial valleys while the walls show a pronounced verticality and consist of volcanic rock. The volcano is characterized by a mixture of lavas with different chemical compositions and pyroclastic deposits. The surrounding areas are formed by materials transported by mud flows.

How do you get on Vesuvius? The main route follows the western rim of the crater while a new alternative route, currently under development, will allow visitors to complete the full tour of the crater, enriching the experience of this unique environment.

For the excursion on Vesuvius it is necessary to buy tickets at full or reduced price. It is recommended to buy tickets for Vesuvius from the official website before approaching the site, because the connection near the entrance is absent. 

The Museum of the Vesuvius National Park

The new Museum of the Park Authority of Vesuvius of the Cultural Center of Villa Regina tells the geological history of the volcanic complex Somma-Vesuvius, the development of rich biodiversity and analyzes the thousand-year interaction between the human being and the volcano.

Divided into five themed rooms, the museum offers a complete immersion in the wonders of Vesuvius:

  • “The volcano”: The room provides an in-depth exploration of the change of Summa-Vesuvius through a model of the most significant eruptions and their environmental impact;
  • “The birth and evolution of the Vesuvian soil”: It is a journey in the formation and development of Vesuvian volcanic soils over the millennia;
  • “Soil and biodiversity”: Provides an overview of the main plant and animal species of the Vesuvian environment and the important agricultural sphere;
  • “The anthropized soil”: Performs an analysis of the consequences of human activity on the territory, deepened through dioramas and descriptive panels;
  • “The human-Vesuvius interaction”: A room dedicated to the millennial relationship between man and volcano, with particular attention to both agricultural and traditional building techniques.

The historical and cultural heritage

In addition to its natural beauty, the Park of Vesuvius is also a treasure of history and culture. The lands surrounding the majestic Vesuvius tell a story of interactions between man and the volcano.

The ancient cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, destroyed by the eruption of 79 AD, are evidence of the greatness and tragic end of civilization. Visitors can explore the ancient streets, houses, temples and theatres of these cities buried in time, getting a glimpse into the daily life of the era.

From Oplonti to the most recent finds at Somma Vesuviana and Villa Regina in Boscoreale, each site represents a precious fragment of this fascinating history.

The luxurious eighteenth-century villas of the Golden Mile, the rustic Masserie Vesuviane and the characteristic barrel roofs of Terzigno are tangible testimonies of how architecture and lifestyle have adapted to the peculiarities of the volcanic territory.

Through places such as the Antiquarium of Boscoreale, the Mav (Virtual Archaeological Museum) of Herculaneum and the suggestive lavas present along the climb to the Gran Cono, you can immerse yourself in the events that have shaped this area.

The Railway Museum of Pietrarsa in Portici recalls the importance of infrastructure in the relationship between man and the territory while the Coral Museum in Torre del Greco and the Museum of Rural Life in Somma Vesuviana lead on a journey through the characters, the crafts and traditions of the communities that have inhabited these lands through the centuries.

Copertina: pixabay

Write a response

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your custom text © Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.