Southern Italy's biggest city lies in the shadow of Vesuvius and provides the ideal staging post for Pompeii, the Sorrentine peninsula, Capri and the Amalfi coast. It is also home to some of the best food in Italy, world-class monuments and a thriving contemporary art scene.
Submitted Photo by Dr. Tom Mack A view of Vesuvius in the distance, from the terrace of Tom Mack's hotel. “Its general appearance can be best expressed as being like an umbrella pine,” wrote Pliny the Younger in his retrospective description of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in August of AD 79, “for it rose to a great height on a sort of trunk and then split off into two branches.” About 13 miles up the coast from the volcano, Pliny and his mother fled from the dark, lightning-filled clouds that approached from the southeast shortly after the explosive eruption.
And it's not Vesuvius, whose spectacular eruption doomed the flourishing Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in the year 79. It's the Phlegraean Fields - Campi Flegrei in Italian - a sprawling constellation of ancient volcanic centers near the Tyrrhenian Sea and extending under the sapphire-blue waters. The Solfatara Crater, a steaming, smelly reminder of nature's explosive power, is the star of the bunch.
In this photo taken on Saturday, April 30, 2016, visitors look at steaming fumarolas at the Solfatara crater bed, in the Phlegraean Fields near Naples, Italy. Fields -- Campi Flegrei in Italian -- are a sprawling constellation of ancient volcanic centers.