Vesuvius National Park, Vesuvius - Campania


The Vesuvius National Park is located in the province of Naples (Campania) and was established with Law 394 of 6 December 1991, to which the subsequent amendments of the Presidential Decree of 5 June 1995 were added.

The park is entirely included in the area of ​​Mount Somma-Vesuvius.

Vesuvius, one of the most famous volcanoes in the world, is classified as a typical explosive enclosure volcano and its first formation dates back to 250,000 years ago.

In Roman times, the fact that Vesuvius was an active volcano was ignored, and it was famous for the extraordinary fertility of its slopes, covered with vineyards and dense woods where wild boars were hunted. In 79 A.D. there was the catastrophic eruption that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, submerged by the mud caused by the rains that followed the eruption. Most likely it is after the eruption of 79 AD. that Vesuvius assumed the characteristic gemino aspect, that is, from the double peak.

Today only a few sulfur fumaroles are active inside the crater.

Vesuvius National Park

The Vesuvius National Park is a national park established on 5 June 1995 due to the great geological, biological and historical interest that its territory represents. The park develops around the Somma-Vesuvius volcanic complex and the headquarters are located in the municipality of Ottaviano, in the province of Naples. The Vesuvius National Park was officially born on 5 June 1995 to preserve animal and plant species, plant and forest associations, geological singularities, paleontological formations, biological communities, biotopes, scenic and panoramic values, natural processes, the hydraulic and hydrogeological balances and the ecological balances of the Vesuvian territory.

Plan of the Vesuvius National Park

The Regional Council of Campania, with resolution no. 1894 of December 16, 2005, adopted, pursuant to law December 6, 1991, n. 394, art. 12, paragraph 3, the Plan of the Vesuvius national park.

Law 394/1991 - "Framework law on protected areas" - establishes the fundamental principles for the establishment and management of protected natural areas, in order to guarantee and promote, in a coordinated manner, the conservation and enhancement of the natural heritage of the country. In particular, art. 12, Title II - "National protected natural areas" -, governs the methods of implementation of the plan for the park as a fundamental act, replacing landscape plans, territorial or urban plans at every level and any other planning instrument, aimed at pursuing the objectives of protecting natural and environmental as well as historical, cultural and anthropological values.

The Vesuvius National Park Authority, established by decree of the Minister of the Environment DEC / SCN / 87 of 21.03.1996, has put in place, in agreement with the Park Community, the procedures necessary for the preparation of the "Park Plan" , as a fundamental urban-territorial planning tool.

This plan consists of the following technical documents:

b) Tables of the Plan including:

-P1.2a Descriptive report and iconographic and photographic repertoire

-P1.3a Descriptive report and iconographic and photographic repertoire

-P1.4a Descriptive report and iconographic and photographic repertoire

-P1.5a Descriptive report and iconographic and photographic repertoire

-P1.6a Descriptive report and iconographic and photographic repertoire

-P1.6b Forest resources museum

-P1.6c Forestry strategies museum

-P2.a1 Slow phenomena (hydrogeological risk)

-P2.a2 Fast phenomena (hydrogeological risk)

-P2.2a Territorial framework

-P2.2b Structural framework

-P2.2c System of accessibility and use

-P2.2d Amended zoning

c) Amended implementing technical standards

Attached you can download a presentation of the aforementioned plan (size approximately 7 MB).

Eng. Michele Palermo of the Political Sector of the Territory, Centro Direzionale di Napoli is. A / 6 9th floor tel. 0817966975, he was appointed head of the procedure for the phases of adoption and approval of the Vesuvius National Park Plan.

Notice of the adoption of the "Plan of the Park" will be given in the Official Gazette of the Republic, whose publication is valid for the purposes of the envisaged expiry dates, in the Official Bulletin of the Campania Region and in two national newspapers.

Tour to discover the Vesuvius National Park

Easter Monday for many Neapolitans is synonymous with picnic on Vesuvius: barbecues in the picnic areas of the Vesuvius National Park, football games and pleasant days outdoors.

This year, alas, it is not possible, but I would still like to tell you about the Vesuvius National Park, since many do not know it. I, on the other hand, grew up right on its slopes and for me it represents home.

Very often when organizing a tour in Campania, we tend to include in the itinerary Naples, the Amalfi Coast, one of the islands in the Gulf of Naples (more often than not Capri) and a visit to crater of Vesuvius.

In reality, Vesuvius deserves a much more thorough visit than that of the crater alone.

Of course, looking at the crater of a dormant volcano from the other is almost impressive. Yet, contrary to what one would expect, there is no smoke or lava, just a large plug surrounded by vegetation.

The Vesuvius, in fact, as many will know, it is an active volcano which, however, has been sleeping for 76 years, since the last eruption of March 18, 1944. Since then the volcano has been in a state of quiescence characterized by fumarolic activity and low seismicity and sovereign emergence in the Gulf of Naples, as a distinctive element of the city.

In reality, almost reaching the crater, it is really difficult to come across fumaroles and it would seem almost an extinct volcano. Instead its activity continues in the bowels of the earth, and manifests itself over 20 km away, ai Campi Flegrei.

This is the reason why there is a large population density along all the slopes of Vesuvius, there are numerous Vesuvian municipalities, life flows quietly and since 1995 theVesuvius National Park Authority to protect its flora and fauna.

For many the Vesuvius it is defined as “the mountain” and like all mountains, it includes some hiking trails, to be precise there are 11 of them for a total length of 54 km of walkway.

Different types of paths have been created: six circular nature trails (n. 1,2,3,4,5 and 8), an educational path (n.9), a panoramic path (n.6) and an agricultural path ( 7).

The Vesuvius National Park

The Vesuvius National Park born in 1995 for geological, biological and historical interest that the territory represents. In fact, it is proposed to:

  • Preserve the environment and the territory
  • Safeguarding animal and plant species including geological singularities
  • Promote awareness-raising, training and scientific research activities

A particularity that interests this territory lies in the great variety of animal and plant species that characterize it, despite its limited extension: 612 vegetables and 227 animals .


  • 1 History
    • 1.1 Fire of 2017
  • 2 Flora and fauna
  • 3 Territory
  • 4 Municipalities
  • 5 Trails
  • 6 Activities
    • 6.1 Path n ° 1 - "The valley of hell"
    • 6.2 Path n ° 2 - "I Cognoli di Ottaviano"
    • 6.3 Path n ° 3 - "The crossing of Monte Somma"
    • 6.4 Path n ° 4 - "The Tirone-Alto Vesuvio Nature Reserve"
    • 6.5 Path n ° 5 - "The ascent to the crater of Vesuvius"
    • 6.6 Path n ° 6 - "The Matrone road"
    • 6.7 Path n ° 7 - "The valley of the profica"
    • 6.8 Path n ° 8 - "Along the cog railway journey"
    • 6.9 Path n ° 9 - "The river of lava"
  • 7 Image gallery
  • 8 Notes
  • 9 Related items
  • 10 Other projects
  • 11 External links

Already announced by the framework law on protected areas of 1991, the Vesuvius national park was established with the Decree of the President of the Republic of 5 June 1995, mainly for:

  • preserve the values ​​of the territory and the environment, and their integration with man
  • safeguarding animal and plant species, as well as geological singularities.

Inside the park there is the Cava Sari landfill, for which the municipality of Terzigno has been at the center of various national controversies. [1] Besides Cava SARI there are three other official landfills in the park area, namely those of Amendola and Formisano [2] in Ercolano, La "Porcilaia" in Torre del Greco and Cava La Marca in Somma Vesuviana, until the reclamation completed in 2019 , also aimed at enhancing three rustic Roman villas inside, 11 thousand cubic meters of waste were also crammed into Cava Ranieri in Terzigno [3].

Fire of 2017 Edit

Between 5 and 21 July 2017 the park suffered serious environmental damage due to a vast fire for which the causes of the triggering are still unknown (at present there is only one indicted accused of having started the fire in Torre del Greco, in the pine forest near his home. This alleged arsonist was not caught in the act of crime and is accused, after some telephone and environmental interceptions of his close relatives, for having burned a hectare of pine forest. devastated a large wooded area. Due to a high rate of drought in the natural and anthropogenic vegetation, particularly for the undergrowth areas present below the vast artificial pine forests planted during the 1930s on the western part of the Somma-Vesuvius volcanic complex. On 5 July, a fire unfortunately announced from via Vesuvio to Herculaneum starts and will spread to the apex of Monte Somma [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]

The fire spread rapidly in the following days on a vast front, which from the ignition points reached the urban centers of Torre del Greco and Ercolano. In addition to the Fire Brigade and the volunteers on the ground, three Canadair and five Civil Protection fire helicopters intervened on the spot. The smoke fell on a vast area of ​​Campania, affecting the distant towns of Avellino and Benevento. The area affected by the fire exceeded 1,980 hectares, of which about 960 were completely destroyed, a further 770 hectares were "heavily damaged" and a further 250 hectares received minor damage [11]. The destruction of the forest resulted in the elevation of the hydrogeological risk index for the affected area. In fact, there is a risk that, no longer retained by the vegetation, the pyroclasts that cover the flanks of the volcano are washed away by the rain, causing damage downstream [12].

On the subject of the fire of July 2017, much has been said and often inappropriately [13], unfortunately evergreen buffaloes have circulated such as that of the scuba diver fished from the sea by Canadair or that of kamikaze cats, the latter reported even by the Morning of Naples , but the most striking statement was that of the president of the PNV who declared, three days after the start of the fire, that the park was under attack by criminals, and this without clear evidence, at least in those first moments [14 ]. To date there has been no evidence of any organized criminal attack, much less linked to organized crime, as underlined by General Del Sette last October [15]. We have not yet passed from words to facts and, between facade operations, unclear conventions and protocols, the Vesuvian woods still languish awaiting greater care and measures that are not left to posterity. [16] [17].

Following the arson that hit the Park territory in the summer of 2017, which caused serious damage to the biodiversity heritage and, at the same time, increased the susceptibility of the territory to hydrogeological instability phenomena, also reducing safety levels for the use of the green infrastructure of the protected area, the Park's Board of Directors, with resolution no. 26 dated 11-09-2017, launched the “Great Vesuvius Project”. As part of the "Great Vesuvius Project", redevelopment interventions were carried out which led to the inauguration of two new paths [18]. [1] [2] [3]

A further singularity of this Park is represented by the considerable presence of flora and fauna species in relation to its small size: there are 612 species belonging to the plant world and 227 species (among those studied) belonging to the animal one. [19]

The park includes and develops around Vesuvius. It represents the typical example of an enclosed volcano, consisting of a truncated external cone, Monte Somma, (now extinct and with a crater wall largely demolished) within which there is a smaller cone (representing Vesuvius, still active) [4]

The territory, rich in historical and naturalistic beauties, boasts a unique agricultural production for variety and originality of flavors.

The municipalities of the park are 13 and specifically:

The trails of the Vesuvius National Park are 11:

pathway common
Hell Valley Ottaviano, San Giuseppe Vesuviano, Terzigno
Along the Cognoli Ottaviano, San Giuseppe Vesuviano, Somma Vesuviana, Terzigno
Monte Somma Herculaneum, Massa di Somma, Pollena Trocchia, Sant'Anastasia, Somma Vesuviana
Through the Tirone Reserve Boscotrecase, Herculaneum, Torre del Greco, Trecase
The Great Cone Boscotrecase, Herculaneum, Ottaviano, Torre del Greco, Trecase
Along the Strada Matrone Boscotrecase, Ottaviano, Terzigno, Trecase
The Valley of the Profica Ottaviano, San Giuseppe Vesuviano, Terzigno
The cogwheel train Herculaneum, San Sebastiano al Vesuvio
The river of lava Herculaneum, Massa di Somma
The Olivella Sant’ Anastasia
The Pineta of Terzigno Terzigno

In the park it is possible to hike along the many paths present. Following the 11 official trails. [20]

Path n ° 1 - "The valley of hell" Edit

One of the longest trails (almost 10 km), crosses narrow uphill and downhill hairpin bends around Vallone Tagliente. Along the way you can admire the Cognoli di Levante, a spectacular example of rope lava.

  • Overall length: 9,972 m
  • Maximum altitude: 965 m a.s.l.
  • Difficulty: high

Path n ° 2 - "I Cognoli di Ottaviano" Edit

Once you arrive at Largo Prisco, a wide tour allows you to return to the same clearing, after a sequence of ups and downs [21].

  • Overall length: 8,134 m
  • Maximum altitude: 1,112 m a.s.l.
  • Difficulty: high

Path n ° 3 - "The traverse of Monte Somma" Edit

Path that allows you to explore the past of the great volcano, overlooking the 1944 lava river, panoramic views of the Gulf of Naples, and crossing a large part of Monte Somma [22].

  • Overall length: 7,650 m
  • Maximum altitude: 1,132 m a.s.l.
  • Difficulty: easy

Path n ° 4 - "The Tirone-Alto Vesuvio Nature Reserve" Edit

One of the easiest paths (it is almost entirely flat). Go through a suggestive wood. This path has two curiosities: it crosses the point universally considered to have the most spectacular view of the Park and crosses what is believed to be the legendary shack of the witch Amelia, a Walt Disney cartoon character [23].

  • Overall length: 8,413 m
  • Maximum altitude: 690 m a.s.l.
  • Difficulty: low

Path n ° 5 - "The ascent to the crater of Vesuvius" Edit

Path that ascends towards the Great Cone of Vesuvius, crossing the Capannuccia and the Imbò Refuge before returning to Piazzale Ercolano (starting point). Of all the routes it is the most popular one [24].

  • Overall length: 3,807 m
  • Maximum altitude: 1,170 m a.s.l.
  • Difficulty: low
  • The nature trail n. 5 "Il Gran Cono" starts from the square located at an altitude of 1000 m s.l.m. in the municipality of Ercolano at the end of the Herculaneum-Vesuvius Provincial Road. At the moment, the Piazzale hosts a parking area for those arriving motorized. Before embarking on the climb, you can visit one of the Infopoints of the Vesuvius National Park where you can receive useful information on the protected area and purchase the trail map. From the square you can already enjoy a splendid view of the northern slope of Monte Somma with the Cognoli di Sant'Anastasia and Punta Nasone, the top of the ancient volcano high at 1,132 meters, opposite the Cognoli di Ottaviano and di Levante, while raising looking upwards, you can hold your breath by observing from below what will be the ascent to the lower edge of the Sterminator Vesevo.

Path n ° 6 - "La strada Matrone" Modification

The path takes its name from the two brothers who traced the path almost a century ago. The walk is close to 7 km, during which it is possible to admire the lava mouths opened in 1906.

  • Overall length: 6,877 m
  • Maximum altitude: 1,050 m a.s.l.
  • Difficulty: high

Path n ° 7 - "The valley of the profica" Edit

This path, relatively short compared to the others (less than 2 km), allows you to cross the land where the piennolo tomatoes are born, typical of the Vesuvian area. The path ends in a suggestive pine forest.

  • Overall length: 1,718 m
  • Maximum altitude: 430 m a.s.l.
  • Difficulty: low

Path n ° 8 - "Along the cogwheel train journey" Edit

At one time the Eremo del Salvatore was connected, downstream, with Resina (Herculaneum), through a cogwheel train, whose path can be admired from this path. The route, although rather short (just over a kilometer), has some steep slopes and is therefore considered of medium difficulty [25].

  • Overall length: 1,188 m
  • Maximum altitude: 520 m a.s.l.
  • Difficulty: medium

Path n ° 9 - "The river of lava" Edit

This short and easy path crosses a couple of very suggestive groves, dominated by broom and valerian. Experience the thrill of walking on a lava flow, surrounded by an almost lunar landscape [26].

The trail was officially inaugurated on March 2, 2020 [27].

  • Overall length: 690 m
  • Maximum altitude: 540 m a.s.l.
  • Difficulty: low

Path n ° 10 - "L'Olivella"

The itinerary runs along the Olivella road that climbs through the countryside of Sant'Anastasia and leads to the springs of the same name at an altitude of 382 m a.s.

  • Overall length: 1,865 m
  • Maximum altitude: 382 m a.s.l.
  • Difficulty: low

Path n ° 11 - "The pine forest of Terzigno"

The path is structured on a flat path, inside a dense pine forest.

  • Overall length 750
  • Maximum altitude 211
  • Low difficulty

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