Vesuvius Reveals Secret Past

Smithsonian Magazine reports in its June issue the discovery that Italy’s Mount Vesuvius erupted about 2,000 years before its 79 A.D. eruption to famously covered Pompeii. And that’s not all, Vesuvius may be due for another eruption in the next few hundred years. Here’s what the magazine says:

Sure, Mount Vesuvius erupted in a.d. 79 and entombed Pompeii. Now a University of Buffalo scientist and colleagues have uncovered evidence the volcano erupted even more violently some 2,000 years earlier. Thousands of human footprints excavated in deeper volcanic ash (left) indicate a mass flight. Many people did not escape; the researchers found skeletons of a woman and man probably suffocated by scalding dust. With Vesuvius erupting violently every 2,000 to 3,000 years, Naples may be in more peril than previously believed: about two-thirds of the metropolitan area falls within the 4,000-year-old blast zone.

Better get to Naples while it is still safe! Read about the city’s best pizzerias, waterfront hotels and mouth-watering restaurants in Dream of Italy’s October 2005 issue.