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For more than 240 million years the region now known as Italy has been the scene of episodic volcanic activity. East-southeast of Napoli (Naples) stands the imposing cone of Vesuvius, which erupted explosively in A.D. 79 to bury Pompeii and Herculaneum. The Appenine ranges extend from northern Italy, down the boot of the peninsula and westward into Sicily. This photograph shows the Appenino Napoletano part of the mountain chain. Image courtesy of NASA.