It was built during the reign of Ferdinand II of Borbon between 1841 and 1845 on the side of an old building called
"Eremo", where travellers used to stop before climbing the mountain. The king, who was a man of culture, was sensitive to the need for more advanced study and systematic observations of the volcano activity and vulcanology in general. The historical building of the Vesuvius Observatory is located at 600 m asl, and it has survived some notable eruptions (in 1850,1855, 1861, 1868, 1872, 1906, 1929, 1944) without being damaged. It was built on the southern border of the Somma
caldera, between two deep valleys bordering the hill. These valleys have now been filled by the lava flows of the above-mentioned eruptions. Since 1983, the National Group for Vulcanology has encouraged research
in the geological structure of the volcano, and improved its monitoring.
In the 80s there was a significant number of earthquakes, called bradysism, in
the Phlegrean Fields and particularly in Pozzuoli that made the earth rise about
1,8 m and after which 30.000 people were evacuated to other nearby areas. Now
everything seems to be quiet ot within the limits of natural movement of the
earth mass. The only evident exterior activities are the steam fumaroles inside
the crater of Vesuvius, in the Phlegrean Fields and on the isle of Ischia.
In the historical building of the Osservatorio Vesuviano is a
volcanological museum where old instruments are on display.
The exhibition takes the visitor on a fascinating tour
through the world of volcanoes.
It starts off with a description of the various types of
eruption and how dangerous they are, and finishes with observation, in real
time, of seismic and geochemical data recorded by the Vesuvius Observatory
surveillance team. And everything is brought to life with the aid of video
clips, illustrations, collections of rocks and minerals, historical
instruments, books, paintings…
It is also possible to look through the camera’s eye deep into the craters of
Vesuvius, Etna, Vulcano and Stromboli.
One of the Observatory guides will show visitors round.
The entrance is free. For information and bookings
For a virtual tour click
Sede Storica - Museo
80056 Ercolano (NA)
tel. 081.7777149 - 081.7777150
Monday to Friday 9am – 2pm
schools and groups
(advanced booking necessary)
Saturday and Sunday 10am – 2pm
open to the public