Alkaline volcanism produced by Monte Somma-Vesuvius volcano includes explosive plinian and subplinian activity in addition to effusive lava flows. Pumice, scoria, and lava (150 samples) exhibit major- and trace-element gradients as a function of SiO2 (58.9-47.2 wt%) and MgO (0-7.8 wt%); Mg value are ???50. Internally gradational chemical groups or cycles are distinguished by age: (1) 25 000 to 14 000 yr B.P.; (2) 8000 yr B.P. to A.D. 79; and (3) A.D. 79 to 1944. A small number of lavas, dikes and scora were also analysed from the Somma formation (~ 35 000 to 25 000 yr B.P.). Within each group, contents of Na2O + K2O increas with decreasing MgO along distinct rocks. Nb/Y values are variable from 0.66 to 3.14 (at SiO2 ??? 50 wt%) generally in the range of alkaline and ultra-alkaline rocks. Variations in contents of some majro elements (e.g., P and Ti), and trace elements (e.g., Th, Nb, Ta, Zr, Hf, Pb, La, and Sc), as well as contrasting trends in ratios of various elements (e.g., Ta/Yb, Hf/U, Th/Ta, Th/Hf, Th/Yb, etc.) are also generally consistent with the group subdivisions. For example, Th/Hf increases from ??? 5 to ??? 10 with decreasing age for the Vesuvius system as a whole, yielding similar compositions in the least evolved rocks (low-silica, high-MgO, imcompatible element-poor) erupted at the end of each cycle. Internal variations within individual eruptions also systematically changed generally towards a common mafic composition at the end of each cycle, thus reflecting the dominanit volume in the magma chamber. At the start of a new eruptive cycle, the rocks are relatively enriched in incompatible elements; younger groups also contain higher abundances than other groups. N-MORB-normalized multielement diagrams exhibit selective enrichments of Sr, K, Rb, Th, and the light rare-earth elements; deep Nb and Ta negative anomalies commonly seen in rocks generated at orogenic margins are absent in the light rare-earth elements; deep Nb and Ta netgative anomalies commonly seen in rocks generated at orogenic margins are absent in our samples. Sr isotopic compositions are known to be variable within some of the units, in agreement with our data (87Sr/86Sr ~ 0.70699 to 0.70803) and with contributions from several isotopic components. Isotopic compositions for ??18O (7.3 to 10.2%), Pb for mineral separates and whole rocks (206Pb/204Pb ~ 18.947 to 19.178, 207Pb/204/Pb ~ 15.617 to 15.769, 208Pb/204Pb ~38.915 to 39.345), and Nd (143Nd ~ 0.51228 to 0.51251) also show variability. Oxygen isotope data show that pumices have higher ??18O values than cogenetic lavas, and that ??18O values and SiO2 are correlated. Radiogenic and stable isotope data plot within range of isotopic compositions for the Roman comagmatic province. Fractional crystallization cannot account for the radiogenic isotopic compositions of the Vesuvius magmas. We favor instead the combined effects of heterogeneous magma sources, together with isotopic exchange near the roof of the magma chamber. We suggest that metasomatized continental mantle lithosphere is the principal source of the magmas. This kind of enriched mantle was melted and reactivated in an area of continental extension (incipient rift setting) without direct reliance on contemporaneous subduction processes but possibly with input from mantle sources that resemble those that produce ocean island basalts.