The Rural Territorial System 16 Complex of VesuvioMonte Somma has a territorial surface of 215.8 kmq, equal to 18% of the provincial territory; it includes the territories of 17 municipalities (Table 1), all of which fall within the province of Naples.
The system includes the volcanic building of SommaVesuvio, largely falling into the Vesuvius National Park. The System of SommaVesuvio presents two very different areas of landscape: that of the southern portion the Vesuvius with a young morphology, irreducible to ordered schemes because upset over the last two millennia by the succession of eruptive activity; and that of the oldest portion, the northern slopes of Monte Somma, which retain the most mature volcanic morphology, prior to the Plinian eruption of 79 AD The landscapes of the Somma constitute the quiet, green, lush facies of the volcano, with a cool and humid microclimate, the deciduous and chestnut woods, the heroic terraces that climb along the slopes, up to the edge of the wood, with the apricots and the lush and untidy arboreal gardens, which simulate themselves an ancestral garden. The landscapes of Vesuvius represent instead the terrible facies of the Volcano, with an irregular morphology, still lacking an established hydrographic network. At higher altitudes the ecological mosaic is dominated by the presence of ecologic pioneer stems that colonize ash deposits and lava flows: expanses of lichens, bush, holm oak nuclei, anthropic pine forests. Overall, according to the Regional Charter of Land Use, forest and semi-natural areas cover an area equal to 20% of the overall area of the System.
The lower slopes host apricot trees, vineyards, orchards and horticultural crops, within an agricultural landscape that gradually becomes, proceeding towards the coast, more fragmented and inter-linked by a pervasive and disordered urban fabric.
The evolutionary factors of volcanic landscapes are manifold and the determining factor is undoubtedly represented by the irrepressible pressure of urban systems. In the last fifty years the average degree of urbanization has increased fivefold in the last forty years, passing from 6 to 30% of the system's territorial surface, giving rise to an impressive annular highly risky conation, which now surrounds the volcano.
The vine with its 391 hectares characterizes the landscapes of all the municipalities that make up the system, it is mainly cultivated in farms whose business center falls in the municipalities of Terzigno (86.6 hectares of vineyard surface), Boscotrecase (82.4 hectares) and Trecase (67.1 hectares with vines); just over half (52%) of the vineyard area is declared a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) for the production of the Vesuvio DOC and Lacryma Christi DOC wines.