Advantages Utterly incredible views and atmosphere !!
Disadvantages Not suitable for the less fit
|Is it worth visiting?|
Thinking back, my ten day holiday in the Bay of Naples probably packed in more wonderful venues than any other holiday I have taken. I visited Pompeii, Capri, Herculaneum ,Sorrento, drove around the wonderful Amelfi Coast and I actually climbed to the top of.arguably, the most famous volcano in the world - Mount Vesuvius ( Monte Vesuvio) !!
Situated just six miles east of Naples it is a short distance from the shore. The area around Vesuvius was officially declared a national park on 5 June 1995.
The most famous eruption was the one in 79AD when Pompeii was covered and lost to the world for so long - one 15 years previously had already caused a lot of damage to the ill fated city.Since the eruption of 79AD Vesuvius has erupted about three dozen more times - the last on 18 March 1944.
Our tour bus drove us to Mount Vesuvius and took us about two-thirds the way up the mountain - driving up a steep, bendy road that was quite daunting in itself. As we dismounted there were some small - rather shabby little shops and cafes and toilets ( which were absolutly packed!!)
Well I did make the ascent and now I am able to sit here and write in all honesty - 'I have climbed Vesuvius' - and do you know - as an over weight late 50's woman - that it feels pretty good to be able to say that!!!
It was such a memorable experience, I got a real thrill knowing that we were walking up the side of an active volcano. The pathway is all volcanic rock and very steep( made worse by the fact that my son kept filling my pockets with bits of lava he was taking home for friends!!). I suggest renting a walking stick from the little old lady at the start of the walk ( they were only 1 euro each to hire) it certainly made the trek a lot easier for me.
It takes about 20 - 30 minutes to make the zig zag climb up the well defined path ( depending on how mant times you need to stop for breath!!) and there are two shelters along the way with refreshments and souvenirs, the drinks are quite expensive so I recommend you take some water with you in a back pack. It is not too steep a climb but there is lots of ash and rock which can be very slippy - especially on the way down.
About three-quarters of the way to the top, you will reach a ticket booth, where you need to buy a ticket to go all the way to the crater. We took the opportunity to get our breath back and were spurred on by reassurances from people descending the volcano that the crater was not too far away!
It was actually pretty barren on top of the volcano, amazing to think that something that is potentially so dangerous can feel like one of the most remotest places on earth. Barren it may have been but it was still incredibly impressive. Looking in the crater it is very colourful and still bears the marks of lava and eruptions from the past.
Do remember to take a jacket with you if you attempt the climb - because despite the heat at the bottom of Vesuvius at the top it is cool and misty, to add to the already intimidating atmosphere, claps of thunders came to warn us of an approaching storm. The said storm soaked us before we could get back down.
If you are visiting this part of Italy and you feel able to make the ascent ( if I can I'm sure you can!!) I definitely recommend taking this trip. I also advise visiting the city of Pompeii, which was destroyed by the volcano in the 79 AD eruption, to see for yourself the devastation that this volcano caused. I
have writen a review of my visit to Pompeii.
Children under 8 are free, for students and children under18 the cost is 4.50 euro, for everyone else it is 6.50 euro.
Remember though, the volcano has an eruption cycle of about 20 years,the last eruption was in 1944..........when will the next one be ????????????
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