Plane views: Mt. Vesuvius, Italy

These pictures were taken on a flight from Naples (Italy) to Amsterdam, when I was treated to an incredible view of Mt. Vesuvius from the plane window. The plane took off in a westerly direction, then banked sharply to the left and continued in an upward spiral above the Bay of Naples. I was sitting on the right side of the plane (i.e. row ‘F’). The plane climbed to its cruising altitude above the bay, treating every passenger with a window seat to stupendous 360-degree views of Naples, the bay, the islands of Capri and Ischia, the mountainous Sorrento peninsula and finally, the crater of the infamous Mount Vesuvius.

View of Mt. Vesuvius from the plane window.

The crater of Mt. Vesuvius seen from the plane window.

Mt. Vesuvius is most famous for its eruption in AD 79 that buried the city of Pompeii in ash and rock. Today, it represents a ticking time-bomb that could blow its top at any moment. The consequences for the more than one million inhabitants that crowd the shores of the bay of Naples would be catastrophic. Volcanologists are increasingly worried as it has been a very long time since Mt. Vesuvius erupted. On our drive to the airport, our taxi driver told us of the Italian government’s campaign to move people out of the area by providing incentives (money and jobs elsewhere) but it was mostly the young who accepted the offer and moved further up north. There are various emergency plans in place should the volcano erupt but as our taxi driver eloquently put it: “Napolitans not good in following instructions. Better she [Mt. Vesuvius] stay sleeping”!

mt vesuvius crater photo

Mt. Vesuvius crater

It’s possible to trek to the crater rim and peer down into the abyss but seeing it from a plane is a good alternative. 🙂

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29 Responses to “Plane views: Mt. Vesuvius, Italy”

  1. Angloitalianfollowus 11/04/2012 11:35 am

    Shell, those are some fantastic postcards which probably would never have seen the light of day again. Thank you so much for sharing them with us all!

    Thank you also to Keith for the post, Mt. Vesuvius has been a story I’ve know since I was very little but it’s rare you seen such good aerial photos. Great stuff.


  2. Shell 14/08/2011 3:38 pm

    These are amazing images! Thanks for sharing them with us all….

    They suddenly reminded me of some old picture postcards I have from the 1900’s so I’ve dug them out and put them on twitpic. – Mt Vesuvius is very clear in the middle postcard

  3. velvet 01/02/2011 11:51 am

    Thanks for your comment Sarah. I was so lucky to get these shots. The weather was clear and the plane just kept circling the bay, providing me with awesome views of the volcano!


  4. Sarah Wu 01/02/2011 7:13 am

    That;s an incredible shot. I have see the Mt Vesuvius from the side, but not from above. These are great photos

  5. Ms.N 17/07/2010 8:18 am

    wonderfully captured!!!
    i enjoyed your posts on italy and also bali – which has now been a long dream destination… hope to see all of this soon!

  6. Richard Wilson 18/06/2010 3:58 am

    Thanks for the post! And for the first time, i actually saw Mt. Vesuvius! I’ve just heard of that when it buried Pompeii! Anyways looking forward to see Mt. Vesuvius, of course personally. Thanks for the information though!

  7. velvet 15/03/2010 3:21 am

    Hi Nathan,
    Thank you. I was just lucky to be sitting on the right side of the plane and I had my camera ready. The plane circled above the bay and the volcano so I had ample time to get these shots. 🙂

    Best regards,

  8. Nathan 14/03/2010 9:24 pm

    Those are awesome pictures! How did you get that good of a picture?

  9. velvet 19/01/2010 12:13 pm

    Hello Dee,

    Thank you for your comments. Glad you enjoyed my Italy posts. There’s another one coming up next week by one of my favourite Italian travel bloggers! 🙂 I don’t have a single ‘favourite’ part of Italy. I’ve visited most parts of Italy, from the Dolomites and the lakes in the north right through the middle (Tuscany/Umbria/Rome/Naples) to the south (Sicily) and Sardinia and I loved them all! I love the whole country, its people, the sights AND the food/wines!


  10. Dee Andrews 19/01/2010 3:49 am

    Wow, what amazing views of Mt. Vesuvius and the crater. Am enjoying your Italy posts and remembering my family’s time there too.

    My 10-year-old daughter couldn’t wait to visit Pompeii. It was wonderful to see through her curious eyes. Here’s a link to our trip there,

    What was your favorite part of Italy?

  11. velvet 15/10/2009 5:15 pm

    Hi Laura,
    Thank you for your comments. I guess I was really lucky. Visibility was great and the pilot flew a very favourable route! 🙂 The views were absolutely stunning.


  12. Laura from Ciao Amalfi! 15/10/2009 2:51 pm

    Ciao Keith! Beautiful photos! You’re quite lucky to get those shots. I’ve take off and landed at Naples countless times, and I’ve never seen anything quite like that. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  13. Shelley 08/10/2009 5:07 pm

    Great pictures! I’m looking forward to seeing more pictures and reading about your trip!


  14. velvet 08/10/2009 5:01 pm

    Thanks for your comment Stephanie! Watch this space for more info & gorgeous pics of the Amalfi Coast! 🙂


  15. TravelDesigned 08/10/2009 3:16 pm

    Glad to hear to enjoyed your getaway to Bella Italia.
    LOVE the photos, hope you will post a slide show 🙂 hint, hint!
    and it is good to hear that some things never change…”Napolitans not good in following instructions…” -made me laugh out loud!!
    As always, thanks for sharing and bringing back so very many happy memories to me. -Stephanie


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