Vesuvius may have lost its plume of smoke, but it has lost none of its fascination—especially for those who live in the towns around the cone. They've now nicknamed it the "Sterminator." In centuries gone by, their predecessors would study the volcano for signs of impending destruction. "Napoli fa i peccati e la Torre li paga," the residents of nearby Torre del Greco used to mutter—Naples sins and the Torre suffers. When reports of depraved behavior circulated about Neapolitans across the bay, chastisement was only to be expected. Today, the world continues to watch ’O Vesuvio with bated breath.

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