In this city, catastrophe is only a matter of time
In Pozzoli (Pozzuoli), the picturesque coastal town outside Naples, the strongest earthquake in 40 years late last month sent terrified residents sleeping in their cars and in an emergency camp by the sea. They feel the menacing breath of the volcano beneath their feet. The land rises within the sea area and almost no water flows into the harbor basin, the facades of the old houses in the town are crumbling and the ground shakes again and again.belowCamp Pellegre (Campi Flegrei), an active volcanic complex located west of Naples, erupts from a supervolcano just below Pozzoli, which has a population of 80,000. “We know that something rises from the core of the earth – that’s why the earth protrudes and we experience stronger earthquakes,” explains Giuseppe Levongo, professor of volcanology, who himself lives in Pozzoli. With 24 hidden underground craters, theCamp Pellegredwarfs the better-known Mount Vesuvius, which destroyed the ancient Roman city of Pompeii in 79 AD.

Politicians turned a blind eye to the danger for decades, when the area, which is known for its beauty and exceptional nature, generates a lot of money from the coveted coastal real estate and construction has gone wild. Thus, despite the known danger, the population has grown over the past decades and today half a million people live in towns throughout the danger zone. Mt. The volcano last erupted 500 years ago, but since last summer, small tremors have increased in frequency, to the point where scientists are recording more than 1,000 a month.Then, as mentioned last month, Pozzoli was struck by a magnitude 4.4 earthquake and 150 aftershocks in one night.

Although the quake was not large enough to cause serious damage, the resulting panic seems to have finally led authorities to act after dragging their feet for decades. Now they are making emergency plans to evacuate hundreds of thousands of people and the national government is for the first time considering a more extreme option: paying people to leave.


Pozzooli lies at the foot of volcanic fields | Photo: Stefano Tammaro, shutterstock


After an emergency meeting of ministers in Italy, the Minister of Civil Defense, Nello Mussomci, said that the residents live with three risks: a large earthquake; A rise in ground level caused by magma filling the underground chambers; and “a very complex, very dangerous volcano”. Evacuation will be a problem, he said at a press conference, “If following a strong earthquake tens of thousands of people get into their cars to leave, the emergency services will not be able to move.”

A picturesque town above hot land

Nestled in the stunning landscape of the Campania region of Italy, Pozzoli boasts a rich history, cultural heritage and breathtaking views. As one that lies along the iconic Gulf of Naples, Pozzoli stands as a testament to Italy’s rich historical, cultural and beauty diversity. While this coastal town often sits in the shadow of its more famous neighbors, it has treasures: ancient Roman ruins, dramatic volcanic landscapes and a vibrant local scene, all within easy reach of the bustling city of Naples. History buffs will fall in love with Pozzoli, which boasts a Plebian amphitheater, similar to and smaller than Rome’s Colosseum.


Ancient historical heritage. The amphitheater of Pozzooli | Photo: Alexander Gold, shutterstock



The historic city is in constant danger | Photo: vololibero, shutterstock


As mentioned Pozzooli sits in the heart of fields Pelgrey, a volcanic wonderland. Hikers to the summit of Solfatara Crater, Europe’s oldest active volcanic complex, give access to water vapor rising from the ground, evidence of the bubbling power below. The volcanic landscape of Solpetra Park is a surreal terrain with bubbling mud pools and sulfuric vents.

But Pozzoli is not just history or hot land. The beautiful Italian town has a bustling fish market, plenty of waterfront restaurants, panoramic views and the scent of Mediterranean air. Along the historic center there are local ice cream parlors and shops for unique souvenirs. The town also serves as a starting point for other adventures: a day trip to nearby Capri, a visit to the city of Sorrento that sits on a cliff and boasts breathtaking coastal views, or a tour of the archaeological ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum, two Roman cities frozen in time by volcanic ash. Unfortunately, Pozzooli’s future may be similar to that of the last two.


Pozzooli sits on the water near Naples | צילום:
Giambattista Lazazzera, shutterstock


Rivers of lava in the streets

Although it is impossible to predict with certainty when Camp Pellegre will erupt, but when it does, the result can be devastating. Its last eruption in 1538 resulted in the formation of a mountain, and a massive explosion 40,000 years ago obscured much of Eastern Europe under a cloud of ash – with artifacts located as far away as present-day Russia.

Although the Israeli Foreign Ministry did not issue a warning regarding the area due to the recent tremors (unlike the MAL’s travel warning due to the security danger to Israelis in Italy), the British Foreign Office updated its travel warnings for anyone traveling to southern Italy after the Naples area experienced the increase in seismic activity.” A national emergency plan has been updated for Mount Vesuvius as well as for Sdot Camp Pellegrean area that remains active and experiences tremors in 2024,” the ministry wrote in an official statement.


The volcanic eruption could be catastrophic | Photo: Stefano Tammaro, shutterstock


The Italian plan for the evacuation of residents and tourists includes areas with different levels of danger. The red zone, from which residents will be evacuated in the event of an outbreak, includes the towns of Pozzooli and Bakoli. Some suburbs of Naples are also in the red zone and include Chiaia as well as Vomero. The rest of Naples lies in the yellow zone – areas at risk of significant volcanic ash fall during an eruption – while Vesuvius and Pompeii lie outside the zone.

Italian authorities are asking travelers to heed the instructions in the event of a volcanic eruption. Tourists planning to visit red or yellow areas are advised to update themselves with the relevant information on the website of the Civil Defense Agency. The instructions also include procedures in cases of lava falls, volcanic explosions and mudslides.


The future of Pozzooli may be the same as that of Pompeii | Photo: auralaura, shutterstock


The fate of Pozzooli depends to a large extent on the specific nature of the volcanic eruption. A supereruption, which may involve the collapse of a caldera, land collapse in the case of the collapse of the ceiling of the magma chamber, would be absolutely catastrophic. Beyond the collapse of buildings and incessant earthquakes, rivers of lava will flow through the town, pyroclastic flows (overheated ash and gas clouds) will occur and a massive humanitarian disaster will occur. The town and the surrounding areas will effectively become uninhabitable for an extended period.

While the authorities are closely monitoring the situation and implementing safety measures, the impossibility of accurately predicting the volcanic activity leaves residents and tourists facing a difficult decision – whether to stay here or leave. Experts do not think another outbreak is expected anytime soon, but as mentioned when it does occur it will be devastating.

By Editor

Leave a Reply