Il Vulcano Buono, where Winnie goes shopping after learning she’ll be in Italy for two extra weeks in my book The Five-Day-Dig, is a real mall in Nola, outside of Naples. The vast circular structure is designed to look like Mount Vesuvius, the volcano that destroyed Pompeii in the year 79, but instead of holding magma, gases and ash, it contains shops, restaurants and a multiplex theater.

It’s a funny idea, but building a mall that looks like a volcano within striking distance of a real one is tempting fate, isn’t it? The mall’s name means “The Good Volcano” in Italian. Not sure if it implies that Vesuvius is, in contrast, bad, but Vesuvius has made the region fertile, rich, beautiful and culturally fascinating and only creates chaos once in a while. Do you really want to insult it? Maybe the architect figured the place will be buried someday anyway, so why not embrace destiny?

Highlights (if I were going) include Pit Stop Ferrari (racing swag!), Guess, and Miss Sixty Energy – but if I had an unplanned extended stay in Italy and needed clothes, I would probably end up shopping at the H&M, because I’m cheap. 🙂

I haven’t been there personally – too many ancient ruins in the area for me to find time for shopping – but if you have the time and inclination, the web site (in Italian only) is here.

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