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Mount Vesuvius is perhaps best known for its eruption in Roman times (24 August 79 AD), described  by Pliny the younger, when Pompeii and Herculaneum were destroyed. The eruption left a large crater that can still be visited today. It is a currently dormant volcano that occasionally emits streams of lava (last minor eruption in the 1950's; although its dormant state could be an indication of a build-up of pressure and a coming explosive eruption). At the top of the volcano is a crater rim that affords a view into the crater that still fumes slightly. Besides that you will have (only on clear days, but the mountain is notoriously covered in fog or clouds) a stunning panorama overseeing the Bay of Naples, Naples, Capri, Ischia, the edge of the Amalfi Coast and more.
Be warned: Going there will make you sweat a lot and set you back about 15€ (including private taxi up the hill).
 Get in
 By Public Transport
Take the Circumvesuviana railway or bus to Ercolano Scavi station in Herculaneum or the Pompei Scavi station. From there you have two choices:
You can either wait for the local bus that costs around €8.70 return (from Pompeii, cheaper from Herculaneum). The bus goes only around twice a day from Herculaneum - at 8:45 AM and 12:45 PM. It goes more often from Pompeii.
Or you can use a private taxi company. They are easily found by going to the tourist center on the left as you come out from the Ercolano station. Note: They offer a lift up and down the mountain for about 10€ each person. For €16.50, they will offer a ticket with entry to the crater. Note: They are able to get special entry tickets for €4.50, so when you purchase the package, they keep €12, instead of €10. They will typically wait until a car is full and leave then. They will agree with all people in the car to wait for all of you at the upper car park for an hour. That however is quite tough, because you will need to hike up the last bit before you can actually see anything exciting. That leaves you with only about 15 minutes to photograph the crater, memorize it for the rest of your life etc. When you come back to the car (probably already 15 minutes late), you will be the first, the driver waits usually for all to return, and you regret not to have stayed a bit longer up there. If you have missed the public bus, this will be your only option to get up to the mountain.
 By Car
You can get to the upper parking area, but be prepared to part with an arm and a leg for the parking fee.
 By Private driver
 Get around
 Eat & Drink
 Stay safe
Vesuvius is an active volcano and may erupt any time in the near future. Its lack of eruption may merely indicate a build-up of pressure, which may result in a more explosive next eruption, posing a lethal hazard to over 500,000 residents living in the same place that got destroyed in 79 A.D. (obviously, they have not learned).
Listen to local authorities if there is any news about the state of Vesuvius, and do not wander any further than the trails go.
 Get out