Vesuvius, Italy

Located on the west coast of Italy, the famous Mt. Vesuvius overlooks the city of Naples and its bay. While the mountain itself draws in visitors from far and wide, it is just one thing to see in the area. The nearby ruins and the city of Naples itself hold may delights for tourists.

Mt. Vesuvius was made famous by its 79 AD eruption which buried the nearby towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum in many feet of ash. This eruption was the first ever to be observed and recorded, courtesy of Pliny the Younger. It also carried the distinction of being the only active volcano on the mainland of Europe. The most recent eruption of Mt. Vesuvius was in 1944, though it was nowhere near as devastating.

There are a few different options for getting to the top of the mountain. Buses and taxis carry tourists to the top for a small fee, and many of them pick up directly from the hotels in Naples. The truly dedicated may choose to turn the trip into an all-day event and make the hike on foot, though this is quite a strenuous climb. Another small fee must be paid in order to be allowed to climb the rest of the way to the crater. Once at the top, the view of the surrounding landscape is breathtaking.

Once done with the mountain, the next thing to see is the ruins that it left behind. The blanket of ash that fell upon the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum was thick enough that it preserved the cities in a state almost identical to what they were before the eruption. Left undisturbed for more than a thousand years, the discovery of these cities was fairly recent and so archaeologists have taken great pains to make sure that nothing is disturbed as they excavate it. Visitors are welcome to walk through certain areas of the ruins and experience what ancient life was like.

The city of Naples lies almost in the shadow of Mt. Vesuvius and provides a good home-base for those visiting the area. When taking a break from the ruins or the mountain, there are plenty of other sites to see. Naples is home to many museums, shops, and plenty of fine dining. The city rests upon the ruins of the cities before it, and underground tours of the labyrinths and catacombs are available.

There are plenty of hotels in Naples to choose from and getting around the city is easy. The mountain is nearby as are the various other attractions that a visitor might want to see. Mt. Vesuvius and its legacy of ruins are wonders that everyone should take the time to see when visiting Italy.

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