Italy is home to three active volcanoes, all located in the south of the country.

Mount Vesuvius, in Naples, is the only active volcano on mainland Europe.

It is famous for the destruction of the Roman towns of Pompei and Herculaneum in 79 BC, an event described in great detail by Pliny the Younger.

Dormant volcanoes.

At least nine other volcanic centres have seen eruptions in historic times, including some submarine volcanoes (seamounts). In order of the most recent eruptions, they are:

Pantelleria, off the coast of Tunisia, probably last erupted around 1000 BC. There was a submarine eruption a few kilometres north-east of the island in 1891, which was probably related to the main volcano.

Vulcano, another of the Aeolian Islands, last erupted in 1888-1890.
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The short-lived Isola Ferdinandea erupted a few kilometres north-west of Pantelleria in 1831 and rose to a maximum height of 63 metres, but was eroded back down to sea level by 1835. The summit is now a few metres below the surface. A swarm of small earthquakes centred on the seamount in 2002 was thought to indicate that magma was moving beneath the volcano, but no eruption occurred.

Vulcanello is a small volcano connected by an isthmus to the island of Vulcano, which erupted out of the sea in 183 BC and showed occasional activity thereafter until the 16th century.

Campi Flegrei, a huge caldera containing the western area of Naples, erupted in 1528, generating the small tuff cone named Monte Nuovo (new mountain).

Ischia, an island 20 kilometres west of Naples, last erupted in 1302.

Larderello, in southern Tuscany, last erupted in 1282 with a small phreatic eruption
Lipari, an island a couple of kilometres from Vulcano, has a volcano which last erupted in 729.

Vulsini (Bolsena volcano, Latera volcano, Montefiascone volcano), a caldera complex at the northern end of the Roman magmatic province (at the north of Cimini volcanic complex). Last erupted in 104 BC.

Monte Albano, a quiescent volcanic complex near Rome (south). The most recent eruptions produced Lake Nemi and Lake Albano. Last erupted in 5000 BC.

Sabatini (Bracciano volcano and Sacrofano volcano), a volcanic complex and caldera near Rome (north). Last erupted in 40,000 BC.

Cimini (Cimino volcano and Vico volcano), a volcanic complex and caldera at the north of Sabatini volcanic complex. Last erupted in 90,000 BC.
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The last eruption was in 1944. Vesuvius is considered to be the most dangerous volcano in the world as it could erupt at any time, threatening the lives of the three million people who live nearby.

Stromboli is one of the Aeolian Islands, situated off the north coast of Sicily, in the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is 926 metres high and has been erupting almost constantly for the last 2,000 years.
Italian volcanoes, volcanoes in italy, volcanic activity italy,  mount etna, mount vesuvius, stromboli,active, dormant, extinct volcanoes
The spectacular explosions are visible many miles out to sea, leading to the Island being nicknamed 'The Lighthouse of the Mediterranean'.

Mount Etna is located on the eastern side of Sicily, between Messina and Catania. It is in an almost constant state of activity, and is one of the most active volcanoes in the world.
Italian volcanoes, volcanoes in italy, volcanic activity italy,  mount etna, mount vesuvius, stromboli,active, dormant, extinct volcanoes
At over 3,000 metres high, it is the tallest, active volcano on the European continent. It covers an area of 1,190 square kilometres, making it the largest of the three active volcanoes in Italy.

What are volcanoes?
The Earth is basically composed of four layers:
The 'Crust'
The 'Mantle'
The 'Outer Core'
The 'Inner Core'
Italian volcanoes, volcanoes in italy, volcanic activity italy,  mount etna, mount vesuvius, stromboli,active, dormant, extinct volcanoes
We live on the 'Outer Crust' which over the land is between 32km to 70km thick. Beneath the 'Outer Crust' is the 'Mantle' which is the deepest layer. The 'Mantle' is extremely hot, but most of the time it stays solid as the pressure inside the Earth is so great that it cannot melt.

However, when Tectonic Plates collide, as they do frequently south of Italy, in the area of the Eurasian and African Plates, one Plate is pushed under another and 'Magma' is formed, which can lead to a Volcanic Eruption.

Volcanoes are divided into three different categories according their behaviour. Firstly, volcanoes which have erupted over the last few years are defined as 'Active

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Leonardo da Vinci is the Shakespeare of art and engineering. Both creative titans died many centuries ago, but live so vibrantly in modern imaginations they feel like our contemporaries.

Getting into the hottest new Shakespeare production is a tricky business but this weekend, I finally watched Michael Fassbender in Macbeth. The text was too severely cropped,

I thought, but it’s a marvel that in our century, which thinks itself so new, Shakespeare’s dramas are still so damned hot. It’s the same with Leonardo – witness the National Gallery queues for his blockbuster show in 2011.

Combining Da Vinci’s flying machines and designs for death and destruction, this model show eerily connects humanity’s love of beauty and its thirst for war

Not one but two fascinating Leonardo exhibitions open in the UK this week. At the Science Museum in London, a spectacular survey of his inventions will reconstruct some of the flying machines, armoured cars, alarm clocks and hydraulic systems whose intricate, gorgeously drawn designs fill his notebooks. Meanwhile, at the Laing gallery in Newcastle, you can see some of his most powerful drawings, each one a masterpiece illuminating one of humanity’s finest minds.
da-vinci
So what have Leonardo and Shakespeare got that other Renaissance artists and writers have not? Why don’t we get similarly excited about Raphael or Edmund Spenser? The answer is that they are artists of the people. Neither went to university; both were in many ways self-taught, their capacious minds not limited by the elitist culture of Renaissance humanism. They embraced popular culture, popular ways of thought, and that speaks to our democratic age.

The Renaissance was an intellectual revolution kickstarted by scholars rediscovering the classic texts of ancient Greece and Rome. The wisdom of these pagan authors gave a licence to explore the human condition in a new and richer way. Leonardo had only partial access to that high culture. His main education was as an apprentice painter in 15th-century Florence. You needed to know enough stories from mythology to put them in your paintings, but there was no need to understand Latin or Greek. Yet, Leonardo taught himself everything he could find out around him – including Latin, but also so much more.

He watched builders and studied the mechanics of their cranes; talked to soldiers about the latest weapon designs; observed the way birds fly. This programme of self-guided learning started when he was young and continued all his life. Leonardo’s greatest artistic achievements are not his handful of surviving paintings, but the drawings and notes in which he explores the world. The notebooks showing the originals designs for the model machines on display at the Science Museum may seem like secret books of wisdom. They are not. They are something much more beautiful: the record of a lifelong quest for understanding.
Mona-Lisa
Shakespeare, like Leonardo, sought out most of his knowledge by himself, from books he read; from conversations with peers such as Christopher Marlowe (who probably told him about Leonardo’s old mate Machiavelli); and above all from observing the world around him. He listened to the speech of the streets.

Shakespeare’s imagination is as democratic as Leonardo’s. And Leonardo, for his part, is as universal a character as Shakespeare’s Hamlet, whose uneasy and restless mind could almost be a portrait of his endlessly questioning genius: “What a piece of work is a man.”

Other cultural greats can seem remote but Leonardo and Shakespeare soar into the digital future on a wooden flying machine that won’t ever stop.

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