Vesuvius and Eruptions
Stories from a Volcano…
Today we dedicate our meeting to one of the most important and tragic events in the ancient history of Italy: the Vesuvian Eruption of 79 A.D. Until a few years ago, the most reliable authoritative source was the letters of Pliny the Younger. He told about the tragedy of the eruption both from his point of view and from his uncle’s one, who died during this dramatic event. The eruption was always placed on August 24th, but several scientific results have shifted the date to October 24th. How was it possible, then, to be sure about it? With no doubts, thanks to the perfect conservative state of some objects. The great miracle that allows us to walk in the history of Pompeii, Herculaneum and the other cities affected by the eruption is just this: everything was practically buried by the pyroclastic surge, having paradoxically almost a “conservative” result!
Not just 79 A.D.! Another eruption, the 472 A.D one., also called “of Pollena Trocchia” it’s very important: our CEO, Raffaele, is originally from this town on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius, and he took part as an archaeologist in the project apolline project. This eruption had such a force, to cover with dust and ash the whole of Europe, up to its eastern borders. Although Pompeii and Herculaneum remain the most famous examples, the Vesuvian area still retains hidden treasures that need to be discovered, such as thermal baths, probably belonging to a House. Inside, the bones of two children, possibly twins and who died from the same disease. The great Bourbon excavations, however, show that the this area was not entirely unknown: since then, some materials of the House were reused for a part of the…San Carlo Theatre!
The Vesuvian eruption of 1631.
Naples was the Capital of the Spanish Viceroy: a dynamic and crowded city. This vitality began to be compromised from December 1631: after five centuries of quiescence, numerous warnings preceded this other great eruption. The previous days, earthquakes and lacerations of the land anticipated what occurred on the morning of 16 December: a fracture opened in the side of the volcano, from which a column of mud and lava, that reached the cities almost 20 distant Kilometers. Several explosive phenomena scourged the vesuvian area: ash and gas covered the sky for days. Even today, the Neapolitans remember this ancient 16 December: every year, the miracle of San Gennaro is also celebrated on this date. The tradition says that only His holy statue could stop the eruption, and once again put an end to the sufferings of the Neapolitan people.
The last eruption: 1944
It was March 18, 1944: the Anglo-American troops had already entered the city, the Second World War was not over yet. Once again the power of nature took over: strong lavish pours and a large cloud of ash and pyriclastic flows involved all the countries of the Vesuvian area. Some villages were evacuated, others suffered damage. The city of Naples was spared thanks to the favorable action of the winds, which wiped out the ash cloud. The American soldiers left precious testimonies: in real time, they lived with surprise this event, often actively helping also to cleaning up some areas from the huge mantle of ash. Since then, Vesuvius has been in a state of quiescence, both in terms of eruptive phenomena and ground movements, going back to being the best background of our walks