Geological sequestration of anthropogenic CO2 appears to be a promising method for reducing the amount of greenhouse gases released to the atmosphere. Geochemical modelling of the storage capacity for CO2 in saline aquifers, sandstones and/or carbonates should be based on natural analogues both in situ and in the laboratory. The main focus of this paper has been to study natural gas emissions representing extremely attractive surrogates for the study and prediction of the possible consequences of leakage from geological sequestration sites of anthropogenic CO2 (i.e., the return to surface, potentially causing localised environmental problems). These include a comparison among three different Italian case histories: (i) the Solfatara crater (Phlegraean Fields caldera, southern Italy) is an ancient Roman spa. The area is characterised by intense and diffuse hydrothermal activity, testified by hot acidic mud pools, thermal springs and a large fumarolic field. Soil gas flux measurements show that the entire area discharges between 1200 and 1500 tons of CO2 per day; (ii) the Panarea Island (Aeolian islands, southern Italy) where a huge submarine volcanic hydrothermal gas burst occurred in November, 2002. The submarine gas emissions chemically modified seawater causing a strong modification of the marine ecosystem. All of the collected gases are CO2-dominant (maximum value: 98.43 vol.%); (iii) the Tor Caldara area (Central Italy), located in a peripheral sector of the quiescent Alban Hills volcano, along the faults of the Ardea Basin transfer structure. The area is characterised by huge CO2 degassing both from water and soil. Although the above mentioned areas do not represent a storage scenario, these sites do provide many opportunities to study near-surface processes and to test monitoring methodologies. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.