Mount Somma

Mount Somma (Italian: Monte Somma) is a mountain located in the Province of Naples, in the Campania region of southern Italy. Mount Somma is an integral part of the Somma–Vesuvius volcanic complex. It is 1,132 metres (3,714 ft) high.

Mount Somma
Monte Somma
Mount Somma viewed from the town of Somma Vesuviana
Highest point
Elevation1,132 m (3,714 ft)
Coordinates40°49′18″N 14°25′34″E
Mount Somma
Mount Somma
Mount Somma (Campania)
LocationProvince of Naples, Campania, Italy
Parent rangeSomma–Vesuvius
Age of rock25,000 BP


Mount Somma is the remnant of a large volcano, out of which the peak cone of Mount Vesuvius has grown. Currently, Mount Somma appears to be spread in a semicircle around the north and northeast of Vesuvius. Vesuvius's formation began during the caldera collapse of Mount Somma.

Approaching Mount Somma from the east, four ridges are encountered:

  • Cognoli di Trocchia (961 m, 3,153 ft)
  • Cognoli di Sant'Anastasia (1,086 m, 3,563 ft)
  • Punta del Nasone (1,132 m, 3,714 ft)
  • Cognoli di Ottaviano (1,112 m, 3,648 ft)

Punta del Nasone

The highest point of Mount Somma, at 1,132 metres (3,714 ft), is called "Punta del Nasone" (literally "tip of the nose") because of its similarity with a nose covered in the profile of a face lying along the top of the mountain. This similarity can be seen by looking the Mount Somma from the peak of Vesuvius.

Lava flows of 1944

In March 1944, a spectacular lava flow interrupted the north outline of the mountain down to the town of San Sebastiano al Vesuvio. A hiking trail (no. 9 in the numbering of the Vesuvius National Park) allows visitors to cross the entire flow at a width of almost 200 metres (660 ft).


Olivella is a village just over 400 m (14 mile) north of Mount Somma, in the territory of the municipality of Sant'Anastasia. It looks like a natural amphitheatre on top of which is located the Olivella spring; a short distance from the outlet is a stone arch that was part of an aqueduct, built in the time of King Ferdinand I to convey water to Naples.


The first evidence of volcanic activity in this area dates back to 400,000 years ago, but the first major eruptive phenomenon of some significance occurred about 25,000 years ago: the eruption of the pumice base when the top of the Somma–Vesuvius volcano collapsed forming a caldera, in which was later formed Vesuvius. Today's Mount Somma is only the caldera on the northern side.


Since 1995, Mount Somma has been part of the Vesuvius National Park.

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