Solfatara is a shallow volcanic crater at Pozzuoli, near Naples, part of the Campi Flegrei volcanic area. It is a dormant volcano, which still emits jets of steam with sulfurous fumes. The name comes from the Latin, Sulpha terra, "land of sulfur", or "sulfur earth". It was formed around 4,000 years ago and last erupted in 1198 AD with what was probably a phreatic eruption - an explosive steam-driven eruption caused when groundwater interacts with magma. The crater floor is a popular tourist attraction, as it has many fumaroles and mud pools. The vapours have been used for medical purposes since Roman times.
Our day trip to Naples and Pompeii was originally supposed to include a hike up Mt Vesuvius, but the roads where closed to buses. Instead, we took a tour of the Vulcano Solfatara park. And, yes, this is the same park where three people died when they crossed over a wooden fence and fell into the hot sulfuric mud.
Read more about the Vulcano Solfatara (link opens in a new window).