Volcanic gases give information on magmatic processes. In particular, anomalous releases of carbon dioxide precede volcanic eruptions. Up to now, this gas has been measured in volcanic plumes with conventional measurements that imply the severe risks of local sampling and can last many hours. For these reasons and for the great advantages of laser sensing, the thorough development of volcanic lidar has been undertaken at the Diagnostics and Metrology Laboratory (UTAPRAD-DIM) of the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA). In fact, lidar profiling allows one to scan remotely volcanic plumes in a fast and continuous way, and with high spatial and temporal resolution. Two differential absorption lidar instruments will be presented in this paper: BILLI (BrIdge voLcanic LIdar), based on injection seeded Nd:YAG laser, double grating dye laser, difference frequency mixing (DFM) and optical parametric amplifier (OPA), and VULLI (VULcamed Lidar), based on injection seeded Nd:YAG laser and optical parametric oscillator (OPO). The first one is funded by the ERC (European Research Council) project BRIDGE and the second one by the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) project VULCAMED. While VULLI has not yet been tested in a volcanic site, BILLI scanned the gas emitted by Pozzuoli Solfatara (Campi Flegrei volcanic area, Naples, Italy) during a field campaign carried out from 13 to 17 October 2014. Carbon dioxide concentration maps were retrieved remotely in few minutes in the crater area. Lidar measurements were in good agreement with well-established techniques, based on different operating principles. To our knowledge, it is the first time that carbon dioxide in a volcanic plume is retrieved by lidar, representing the first direct measurement of this kind ever performed on an active volcano and showing the high potential of laser remote sensing in geophysical research.