Mount Vesuvius is a national park, UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve and the only active volcano on mainland Europe. The lush soils of this 25,000 year old geological marvel (perhaps even older) give life to the world’s best tomatoes – San Marzano – and the vines that produce Lacryma Christi (Tears of Christ) wine. A trek to its peak is a must-do on any Naples itinerary. To reach the rim of the crater, you’ll journey 1000 meters up the mountain by car or by bus and the last 800 meters or so by foot along a gravely path. Except for the occasional bit of steam, there’s not much to see inside, but on a clear day, the views of the bay will stop you dead in your tracks.
Alternatively, you can reach Vesuvius by horseback, or better yet, take a bumpy but exhilarating ride through Lacryma Christi wine country in an Army green monster truck, a Unimog (a 4×4 “ecological jeep”) with Busvia del Vesuvius.
– The trek to the crater is medium difficulty and takes about 30 minutes.
– There are no restroom facilities along the way so “go” before you “go”.
– Walking sticks are available and free to use but leave a tip when you return them.
– Explore more of the park along any of its nine nature trails (i sentieri). Maps are available at the visitor’s office. Download the visitor’s guide in English here.