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Protected Area

Identity Card

  • Vesuvio National Park:
    • Land Surface Area (ha): 8.482,00
    • Regions: Campania
    • Provinces: Napoli
    • Municipalities: Boscoreale, Boscotrecase, Ercolano, Massa di Somma, Ottaviano, Pollena Trocchia, San Giuseppe Vesuviano, San Sebastiano al Vesuvio, Sant'Anastasia, Somma Vesuviana, Terzigno, Torre del Greco, Trecase
    • Establishment Measures: L 394 6/12/1991 - DM 04/12/92 - DM 04/11/93 - DM 22/11/94 - DPR 05/06/95
    • PA Official List: EUAP0009
  • Further managed Protected Areas:
    • Riserva Statale Tirone Alto Vesuvio
    • Sito d'Interesse Comunitario Parco Nazionale del Vesuvio
    • Sito d'Interesse Comunitario Vesuvio
    • Zona di Protezione Speciale Vesuvio e Monte Somma
    • Riserva MAB Somma-Vesuvio e Miglio d'Oro

The Park Statute (PDF - 168 Kb)

 

 
Vesuvius cone from Boscotrecase

Environment and Biodiversity

Somma-Vesuvio is the most important active volcanic group of continental Europe.
Situated in the Piana Campana, it is a characteristic example of fenced-in stratovolcano consisting of two different morphological structures: Somma caldera and Vesuvio Great Cone. Somma caldera, formed by the homonymous mountain, has a semi-circular shape and reaches its highest point with Punta Nasone (1,132m above sea level): it represents what it remains of the ancient volcano, whose activity dates back to at least 300,000 years ago. A large depression, Valle del Gigante, divided into Atrio del Cavallo and Valle dell'Inferno, represents the inner part of the ancient caldera; within it there is the most recent Vesuvio Great Cone (1,281m above sea level), destroyed and reconstructed more than once during ancient and recent eruptions. The fence of Somma is well preserved in its northern section and its crater edge is characterized by a series of summits, called "cognoli".

Further info (Italian text)

Flora

The slopes of Vesuvius and Mt. Somma are very different from a naturalistic point of view: the former is drier, has been partly subject to reforestation in order to avoid landslides and it is characterized by the Mediterranean maquis; the wettest slope of Mt. Somma is characterized by mixed woods. Several studies have demonstrated that the volcanic complex has been colonized by more than 900 vegetable species, including the extinct ones and the more recent ones; today there are 610 entities, 40% of which are made of Mediterranean species. The endemic species are only 18, probably because of the recent origin of the volcanic group.

Further info (Italian text)

Fauna

The fauna of the Park is particularly rich and interesting. Among the mammals, there are the "oaken mouse", very rare in other parts of Italy, the dormouse, the beech-marten, the fox, the wild rabbit, and the hare.
Over 100 bird species live there: resident, migratory, wintering, and nesting birds. The nesting of the Buzzard, the Kestrel, the Sparrowhawk, the Peregrine, the Hoopoe, the Turtle Dove, the Woodpidgeon, the Great Spotted Woodpecker, the Rock Thrush, the Blue Rock Thrush, the Long-tailed Tit, the Nuthatch, the Raven, and the Coal Tit are of particular interest.
During the winter, among the others there are the Woodcock, the Black Redstart, the Wryneck, the Song Thrush, and the Siskin.
In the migratory period, it is also possible to find the Garden Warbler, the Subalpine Warbler, the Pied Flychatcher, the Redstart, the Black-eared Wheatear, the Wood Warbler, the Golden Oriole, the Bee Eater, the Nightjar, and many other species, many of which come from the South-Sahara, where they spend the winter.
Among the reptiles, there are the colored green-lizard, the harmless western whip snake, and the disc-fingered gecko. Among the amphibians, there is the green toad.
Among the invertebrates, we can notice the very colored diurnal and nocturnal butterflies populating the blooming of the Mediterranean Vesuvian flora.

Further info (Italian text)

Geological Features


The geological and geomorphological structure of Somma Vesuvio

Volcanism in the Somma-Vesuvio area has been active since 400,000 years ago, as it is demonstrated by the presence of lava and tufa alternating with marine sediments, cored in the south-eastern part of the volcano at 1,350m of depth (Santacroce, 1987; Brocchini et al., 2001). The available data do not allow to establish if the volcanic activity derived from a central volcano or from fissural activity.

The Volcano

The landscape we observe today at Vesuvio is the result of important geological events that have interested Piana Campana since a few million years ago. Among the effects of these geological events there is the birth of the volcano, dating back to approximately 400,000 years ago. The geographical position of Vesuvio, the fertile lands enriched by the minerals contained in the lava, together with the beauty of the places, have led to the settlement of this area already from a few centuries after the birth of Christ. In this period, the Greeks first and the Romans after settled on the slopes of Vesuvius. These colonies will be interested by periods of demographic decrease and growth, both as a consequence of the activity and dormancy of the volcano and as a consequence of the historical and social events.

Further info (Italian text)

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