Vesuvius is a high-risk volcano and the 1631 Plinian eruption is a reference event for the next episode of explosive unrest. A complete stratigraphic and petrographic description of 1631 pyroclastics is given in this study. During the 1631 eruption a phonolite was firstly erupted followed by a tephritic phonolite and finally a phonolitic tephrite, indicating a layered magma chamber. We suggest that phonolitic basanite is a good candidate to be the primitive parental-melt of the 1631 eruption. Composition of apatite from the 1631 pyroclastics is different from those of CO2-rich melts indicating negligible CO2 content during magma evolution. Cross checking calculations, using PETROGRAPH and PELE software, accounts for multistage evolution up to phonolite starting from a phonolitic basanite melt similar to the Vesuvius medieval lavas. The model implies crystal settling of clinopyroxene and olivine at 6 kbar and 1220°C, clinopyroxene plus leucite at a pressure ranging from 2.5 to 0.5 kbar and temperature ranging from 1140 to 940°C. Inside the phonolitic magma chamber K-feldspar and leucite would coexist at a temperature ranging from from 940 to 840°C and at a pressure ranging from 2.5 to0.5 kbar. Thus crystal fractionation is certainly a necessary and probably a sufficient condition to evolve the melt from phono tephritic to phonolitic in the 1631 magma chamber. We speculate that phonolitic tephrite magma refilling from deeper levels destabilised the chamber and triggered the eruption, as testified by the seismic precursor phenomena before 1631 unrest.