Vesuvius is located less than 12km south-east of the city of Naples and about 10 km from Pompei, in a area populated since ancient times. Thanks to direct evidence throughout history, it has been possible to gather a variety of reports on its activities, making it one of the most famous volcanoes in the world. Vesuvius is best known for its eruption in AD 79 that led to the burying and destruction of Pompei and Herculaneum and Stabia.

The Somma-Vesuvius volcanic complex consists of an older building, Somma, characterized by a caldera, and a younger cone, Vesuvius, which grew up within the caldera after the eruption of Pompei in 79 AD.

The last major eruption was in 1944. Since then the volcano has been in a quiescent stage characterized only by low seismicity and fumarolic activity. No precursory phenomena indicate a possible resumption of the eruptive activity in the short-term. Vesuvius is monitored 24 hours a day by the monitoring network of the Vesuvius Observatory, Naples section of the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (Ingv).

In order to safeguard the lives of 700 thousand people living on the slopes of the volcano, the Department has developed a National Plan of emergency with the collaboration of all the components and operational structures of the National Service of Civil Protection.

At the moment, the alert level of the Vesuvius is green, namely, no anomalous phenomenon is occurring with regard to the ordinary activity of the volcano.