If you have watched or know a bit about Pompeii, you will probably know a bit about Mount Vesuvius. Mount Vesuvius is an active volcano that had an eruption in 79 AD that wiped out Pompeii and Herculaneum among other settlements. With a currently elevation of 1,281 m (4,203 ft) which is subject to change due to future eruptions. The big eruption in 79 AD created a cloud of stones, ash and fumes that had a height of 33 km (20.5 mi)!
Today, it is still an active volcano with the last eruption occurring in 1944. It makes you wonder why people would still live nearby if it has happened in the past. While we visited Italy, we stopped by to visit both Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii on the same day. Mount Vesuvius is reachable by taking a tour that starts at the Pompei Scavi train stop. Exit the train station and to the left, there should be a booth there that sells tickets to go up and a bus if you are lucky and you don't need to wait. In 2013 it cost us 22 € and this includes the ride up, admission, and a brief explanation of Mount Vesuvius when you get to the top. Note that this tour includes a bus ride up a private trail and part way up, you switch to a military looking truck with monster truck size wheels on it, I guess to help get up the mountain. It was a neat experience.
The entire tours lasts about 3 hours with 1.5 hours for getting up and down the mountain. When you reach the top to get dropped off, you aren't actually at the top, there is still a 15 minute trek to get there. So, 1.5 hours + 0.5 hours leaves you with about 1 hour at the top. I thought it was enough time when I went but you may want more time if you want to see more and take in more pictures. We walked from end to end (at least the portions that were possible for us).
Overall, a very nice experience and I would suggest doing it. It was also neat that the volcano was actually covered by the clouds at the base and when you get to the top, it was exactly like that. You could only see cloud after a certain distance, after that, it was like walking in Silent Hill, it is just white. This unfortunately meant that we didn't get to see too much of the surrounding landscape while at the top, but there were no problems with looking at the volcano in its entirety while there. It was neat that you could actually see steam coming out of it, but it didn't look like your usual volcano with the flowing lava in the middle, it was actually covered with what looked like dirt and it actually had some plant life growing there.
Come back next Friday for another Past Point of Interest!