Volcanoes in Italy

The international scientific community has adopted various criteria to classify Italian volcanoes, we have the Activity Status dividing them into extinct, dormant and active.

Extinct volcanoes. Volcanoes which last erupted over 10,000 years ago are defined as extinct. These include the Amiata, Vulsini, Cimini, Vico, Sabatini, Pontine Islands, Roccamonfina and Vulture volcanoes.

Dormant volcanoes.Whereas dormant volcanoes have erupted during the last 10,000 years but are currently in a period of dormancy. According to a more exacting definition, volcanoes with a current period of dormancy shorter than the longest period of dormancy registered previously are considered dormant. Here we have: Colli Albani, Phlegraen Fields, Ischia, Vesuvius, Salina, Lipari, Vulcano, Ferdinandea Island and Pantelleria. Amongst these, Vesuvius, Vulcano and Phlegraen Fields, have a very low eruptive frequency and their conduits are now obstructed. Not all the dormant volcanoes present the same risk level, both for the hazard of expected phenomena as well as for the differing extent of population under exposure. Furthermore some have a secondary vulcanism phenomena (degassing from the ground, fumaroles, etc.) which may well cause situations of risk.

Active volcanoes. Finally, volcanoes having erupted over the last few years are defined as active. These are Etna and Stromboli that frequently erupt and represent a reduced hazard at short term due to their open conduit activity.

Volcanic activity in Italy is also concentrated in the underwater areas of the Tyrrhenian Sea and Canale di Sicilia. Several submarine volcanoes are still active, others, now extinct, represent true and proper submarine mountains. Apart from the better known Marsili, Vavilov and Magnaghi volcanoes, the submarine Palinuro, Glauco, Eolo, Sisifo, Enarete volcanoes as well as the volcanic areas in the Canale di Sicilia should also be mentioned.

Sections on the principal Italian volcanoes follow.


Stromboli, the northernmost of the Eolie Islands is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. It is characterized by persistent explosive activity, called "strombolian".

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Vulcano (island)

The Island of Vulcano is the southernmost of the seven islands comprised in the Eolian archipelago. Together with Stromboli it is the only one that still has volcanic activity. 

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Etna is an active volcano located on the east coast of Sicily. It is the highest in Europe. Its typical activities comprise lava flows and ash emissions.

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Vesuvius is an active volcano located in Campania, in one of the most densely populated areas in Italy. It is considered one of the volcanoes at highest risk in the world.

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Phlegraen Fields

Phlegraen Fields is a volcanic caldera in a dormant state. The risk is very high in this area due to the towns there and vicinity to Naples.

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Ischia is an island formed by numerous volcanoes situated in the Gulf of Naples. Intense hydrothermal activities and the eruptive history stand to say that the island is still an active volcanic area. 

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PantelleriaPantelleria è un'isola vulcanica nel Canale di Sicilia. Allo stato attuale, presenta solo manifestazioni di termalismo diffuso, rappresentate da fumarole e sorgenti di acque calde.

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Colli Albani

Vista di Monte Artemisio, Colli AlbaniLa struttura dei Colli Albani si trova a circa 20 km a sud di Roma. Allo stato attuale è considerato un complesso vulcanico quiescente, poiché presenta ancora evidenze di attività idrotermale e sismica.

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LipariLipari è un sistema vulcanico attivo e quiescente, come dimostra una debole attività idrotermale nella parte occidentale dell'isola e l’occorrenza di eruzioni esplosive/effusive in epoca tardo romana e medievale.

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isola di panareaL'isola di Panarea è un vulcano quiescente. Tra gli isolotti e gli scogli a Est dell’isola esiste una zona caratterizzata da attività esalativa, con fumarole sottomarine attive.

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Submarine volcanoes

Submarine volcanic activity is concentrated in the Tyrrhenian Sea and in the Canale di Sicilia. Several volcanoes are still active, others represent true and proper submarine mountains.

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