SituationRearing abruptly out of the plain some 15km/9mi southeast of Naples on the shores of the bay of Naples, Vesuvius has been since the 17th century the only volcano on the European mainland which is still intermittently active.The height of Vesuvius varies from time to time, since every eruption of any violence alters the shape of the summit: it is roughly 1,280m/4,225ft high.
Ascent of Vesuvius
For the ascent of Vesuvius, leave the Naples-Salerno motorway at the Ercolano exit and take the Strada del Vesuvio, which winds its way uphill between lava flows. In 7km/4.5mi it comes to the Albergo Eremo, where a short side road goes off to the Observatory, founded in 1845, with a museum.In another 3km/2mi the road forks. To the left is a road running up the north side of Vesuvius to the Colle Margherita (3km/2mi), from which it is a 20 min climb on foot to the rim of the crater. The road continues straight ahead and in 1.5km/1mi comes to the lower station of a chair-lift (753m/2,485ft) which goes up to the upper station (1,158m/3,821ft); at present the chair-lift is not in operation. At the top there is a fascinating one-hour walk around the crater and magnificent views.Another road (toll payable) runs from Torre Annunziata, a village to the southwest of the volcano. The route first leads northeast for 2km/1.25mi to Boscotrecase, then 10km/6mi northwest, past the Nuova Casa Bianca restaurant and up the southeast slopes of Vesuvius with numerous bends. Some time ago the area around the crater was designated a protected area.
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