Mt. Vesuvius is a special volcano. Just how special becomes clear once you begin browsing the images in this book, which leave no facet of the volcano unstudied. Mt. Vesuvius is special because its existence has run parallel to that of humans, and alongside them it has formed its history and culture. The volcano has demolished and it has saved. It has conditioned the lives and the collective unconscious of an entire population. By way of historical accounts and the reproduction of a number of paintings, not only the emotion, the sheer terror, but also the wonder and intrigue of volcano come to life - the embodiment of immense, primitive power. The authors of the book must be credited with painting a complete picture of the history of the volcano and of its eruptions via an exact sequence of iconographic and textual documents, with further detail provided by testimonial accounts. The reader has the possibility of following a precise chronicle of the eruptive phenomena through the works of scientists, geographers and men and women of letters. This will allow them to gauge the impact on the lives of the populations and to visualize the scenic effects of the eruptions with the aide of a variety of gouaches. A thorough analysis that constitutes an essential reference point for those who wish to deepen their understanding of Vesuvius and of volcanoes in general. A work which is scientifically irnpeccable, yet at the same time one intended for a wide audience. A book that speaks as much to the specialists as to the public at large.