Etna Volcano (Etna) is the hottest spot in Sicily, and even in all of Italy. Today it is the highest active volcano in Europe. If you ask the question “where is Mount Etna?”, Then it is easy to find in the eastern part of the island exactly between the cities of Catania and Messina. The eruption of lava and ash from the 3-kilometer vent of the volcano occurs regularly. The rest of the time, Etna slightly “puffs” with an invisible pipe, emitting white clouds of smoke into the blue sky of Italy.
If we turn to scientific terms, it turns out that our main character belongs to the category of "stratovolcanoes". Translated from Latin, "stratum" means "layer", which indicates the layered structure of Etna. In practice, this means that inside the mountain cone there are a large number of various layers, such as: lava, petrified ash and lighter waste products of the volcano.
The eruption of a stratovolcano over and over again forms a pronounced conical shape and an unstable height indicator.
Etna is a geographical mastodon, the formation of which occurred 500 thousand years ago. According to the UN, the Sicilian handsome man was recognized as a volcano of the decade for his restlessness. The eruption of Etna occurs due to the collision of two huge tectonic plates. The African plate, driven by the universal laws of nature, constantly goes under the edge of the Eurasian. This a process that has been ongoing for centuries awarded the island of Sicily with such a relief mountain range and a volcano that does not fall asleep for a moment.
On May 31, 2019, the volcano began to erupt beautifully again, see the video below:
Over its solid history, an active volcano has changed its parameters countless times. There is evidence of tangible destruction in the vent of the volcano that occurred about 6 thousand years ago.
As of 2015, Etna volcano occupies 1250 km2 island lands, and its height is 3.33 km, which makes it the largest active volcano on the European continent.
The most powerful volcanic eruption in Sicily for its entire existence happened about 200 times. The last powerful eruption took place in October 2013. Italy and its guests probably remembered August 2014, when the bliss of a warm summer evening was disturbed by a small but spectacular eruption, accompanied by light and sound effects.
The active volcano on the island of Sicily has several references to the mythology of ancient Greece. According to one of them, the warrior goddess Athena (dr. Ἀθηνᾶ) using the massif walled up the giant Enkelad (dr. Ἐγκέλαδος). From time to time, a captive celestial person tries to escape and then his breath powerfully escapes from the cone of the volcano. The name of such a troubled mountain was given by the nymph Etna (dr. Αἴτνη), who lives at its foot.
According to other legends, rebellious giants who challenged the inhabitants of Olympus are imprisoned inside a huge mountain. Their anger causes the eruption of a huge mountain. Well, and finally, the inhabitants of Ancient Greece chose the mouth of Etna as an apartment for the god of blacksmithing Hephaestus (dr. Ἥφαιστος).
Besides the historical name, the volcano also has its Sicilian name - Muncibeddu, Italy knows Etna under the name - Mongibello. This name combines the Arabic and Italian words "mountain" - "gibel" and "mons", respectively. Although, the Arabs prefer to call Etna simply "Fiery Mountain."
Repeatedly over the course of the 21st century, the volcano erupted in large rivers of fire; for several days alongside Sicily, it did not see the sun in the sky. In 2011, the airport of Catania was closed twice due to the fault of Etna. However, it is because of its "explosive" disposition that the volcano supplies the surrounding land with useful trace elements and minerals.
Gardening is thriving on the slopes of Etna, heat-loving crops, such as olives, pomegranates, citrus and fruit, and laurel thickets, feel comfortable. Most surprising is the fact that the volcano is famous for its own vineyards. An old vine growing freely on slopes enriched with ash and lava, gives wines a unique strong taste.
Most of the agricultural land is located on terraces, the height of which is 500-1300 m. This area is called "cultivated" (Italian. Regione coltivata). Above to the level of 2200 m there is a "wooded area" (Italian: regione boscosa). The mountain is covered with deciduous trees, such as: oak, birch, beech and larch. Further and up to the very peak of Etna, it is weakly covered with vegetation. Affects the destructive power of volcanic activity and moisture deficiency. The third zone of vegetation received an eloquent name - "desert" (Italian. Regione deserta).
Etna has unusual landscapes that combine black scars of frozen lava with bright green forests and futuristic craters. You can ride around the volcano along the special narrow-gauge railway Chirkumetnea (Italian: Circumetnea). Using a funny steam train, you can get from Catania Borgo Station to Riposto, describing an incomplete ring around the largest volcano in Italy.
Tourist routes and excursions
The volcano Etna on the map of Sicily has the following exact geographical coordinates: latitude - 37 ° 45'18 "N and longitude - 14 ° 59'43" E. d.
But this information is more likely for those tourists who have a GPS-navigator and a special climber’s kit in their backpack. At the service of all other travelers, there are three proven routes in order to reach the top of the volcano.
The starting point for the Southern Route (Italian: Etna Sud) is in Catania. From this city once a day there is a bus to the commune of Nicolosi (Italian: Nicolosi), located at the very foot of Etna. In order to climb to a height of 2550 meters, the Sicilians built a funicular. The cable car connects the tourist camps of Rifugio Sapienza (Italian: Rifugio Sapienza) and La Montagnola (Italian: La Montagnola). The cost of the trip is about 24-30 euros, more information about the prices can be found on the website: www.etnatracking.com/it/rifugio-sapienza. The very top of the volcano can be reached on foot. A more exciting alternative to the funicular is the ascent to the mountains on an SUV.
Prices for rental cars at the airport of Catania start from 11 euros per day, you can choose the best option for the price / quality ratio using the auto.italy4.me service
The eastern route (ital. Etna Vest) passes through the small commune of Zafferana Etnea (ital. Zafferana Etnea), aimed at tourists and lovers of skiing. The southern and eastern routes connect at around 1900 meters to Rufigio Sapienza. At the service of skiers, Etna represents about 10 km of pistes, of which only 1 km is marked as light. A height difference of 700 m allows you to organize quite bold routes for skiing.
The northern route (Italian Etna Nord) is far from being as welcoming to travelers as the Southern one. A winding mountain serpentine will lead guests of the island through the towns of Piedimonte Etneo (Italian. Piedimonte Etneo) and Linguaglossa (Italian. Linguaglossa) to the tourist base Piano Provenzana (Italian. Piano Provenzana). Etna's northern slope, in colors and colors, shows how an extinct volcano will look like: concave dimples of craters and scorched earth. Walking in the "Martian" area smoothly leads travelers to the green belt of forests.
It remains to mention the main attraction of Etna - unique views that open from a height of several kilometers. The valley in which Catania is located is laid out in full view. The curved coastline, bright Italian greenery, terracotta roof tops look like in a kaleidoscope, brightly replacing each other. Enjoying the beauty of Sicily, do not forget to breathe a full chest of clean mountain air!