Rome and central Italy tend to be known for having volcanoes, both active and inactive. Mount Vesuvius near Naples, for example, is historically known for its eruption during Imperial Rome, burying the city of Pompeii in the first century, but has remained active since, last erupting during World War II. Now, near Rome's major airport, a small volcano the size of a large car has been erupting.
The volcano is located near Fiumicino Airport, the main airport serving Rome and most of Italy, located about 20 miles from downtown Rome. First discovered Saturday by Italian onlookers, the volcano has been ejecting steam, water, and mud in recent days. Geologists have been closely observing the volcano, which they call a fumarole, due to its ejection of steam rather than volcanic gases.
While this volcano is in a region with well-known volcanic activity, the volcano itself is considered relatively unique in its location. The nearest volcanic system to the Fiumicino volcano is Colli Albani, which is approximately 20 miles to the east of it. However, Colli Albani's last volcanic activity occurred around 20,000 years ago, and remains dormant to this day. Furthermore, the distance suggests that this new volcano has little to do with Colli Albani, though volcanic systems can stretch for miles away from their main outlet.
What we may be witnessing is the birth of a new volcano. While they do happen from time to time, new volcanoes are a rarity in an area as populated as Europe. It will be interesting to see how this volcano in Rome develops.