Between 1630 and 1944, Mount Vesuvius was continually erupting, and remains one of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes. Yet, as Rosemary Hill explains in a recent piece, the volcano exerted an irresistible pull on poets, tourists and statesmen. She tells Tom how the 19th century’s obsession with Vesuvius spawned scientific disciplines, artistic innovations and nude intracrater picnics.

Listen to Rosemary Hill’s recent four-part series on Stonehenge.

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