Stand at the edge of Mount Vesuvius’ cavernous crater and you can look out across the sun-baked peninsula of Sorrento and the Amalfi coast, the location of one of our most popular Italian family adventures.
This area around Naples has been a favourite with visitors for years. On account of the coast’s persistent sunshine it was even a popular holiday spot for the Romans. They witnessed little sun on August 24th 79AD, however, as Mount Vesuvius infamously erupted just one day after the Festival of Vulcan (the Roman God of Fire).
The eruption’s resultant carnage created one of the world’s most intriguing historical museums, Pompeii. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place where the kids’ history homework will walk straight from the page and jump to life. And who knows, they might even teach you parents a thing or two…
But let us give you a head start. Firstly, it is said there was no Latin word for Volcano when the eruption of Vesuvius took place. That’s mostly because the Romans didn’t even know that Vesuvius was a volcano (at that point, it hadn’t erupted for over 2000 years). It’s no wonder the city of Pompeii was caught off guard.
And Mount Vesuvius presides over the most densely populated volcanic region in the world – around one million people live in nearby Naples alone. There’s nothing to worry about though; it’s well monitored these days so there shouldn’t be any surprises.
Vesuvius isn’t just about ancient history either. It erupted three times during the 1900s, most recently during WWII. While nobody was killed, it caused one of the worst single losses of US aircraft during the conflict. Have a guess where the air base was… Pompeii (of course)!
There’ll also be heaps of time for the family to reflect on the area’s history at some of Europe’s favourite spots. You’ll spend time on the Sorrento Peninsula, where towns cling to its dramatic coastline like an Italian man clings to his Mamma’s cuisine. No surprise it’s long been a favourite spot for literati and artists alike.
You’ll also get the chance to hop over to Capri. Not the car of course, but the island, which has oodles more class – after all, it was once home to Roman Emperors like Augustus and Tiberius.
And what would a trip to Italy be without at least a small mention of food. Not only will you and the family have the chance to sample some of Italy’s finest, bona fide cuisine (think gorgeous gelatos) but you’ll have the opportunity to get your hands doughy at a pizza-making session. You’ll also meet the local buffalo (of mozzarella fame) as well as explore the grounds of an Agriturismo.
So, if you and the family are after the real Italian deal, with heaps of history and an abundance of adventure thrown in, look no further than our In the Shadow of Vesuvius family holiday.
By Keith Lewis