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Mount Etna, Sicily

Mount Etna, Sicily

On the Italian island of Sicily, close to the city of Messina, the largest active volcano in Europe – Mount Etna – is situated. It is more than 3 km high. It has got a few hundred adventive craters, from which periodic eruptions occur. The ability to see and capture eruption attracts tourists from around the world.

At the end of May 2016 Mount Etna woke up again, and many of the witnesses were able to capture the fountains of lava erupting from its vent.

Mount Etna appeared about half a million years ago. It belongs to the category of stratovolcanoes, having a layered structure of lava, petrified ash and tuff. Periodically lava breaks through the layers, bursting from the crater and causing unforgettable sight.

The last powerful eruption was in October 2013.

Besides the world-famous name associated with the Greek nymph Etna, volcano in Italy has its own name – Mongibello, and in Sicily it is called Muncibeddu.

Interesting to know

Due to regular volcanic activity and emissions of waste products, its surroundings are fertilized with mineral salts and trace elements. This makes possible to obtain good yields. Also, the vine has taken root on the terraces of Mount Etna. Vineyards are located on the height of 450 meters to a kilometer.

It often rains on the slopes of Etna. Temperature has no sharp deviations from the norm, that’s why wine from the slopes of Etna differ by unforgettable taste, complexity aromas which are comparable to the wine of Burgundy. Red grape varieties grow here – Nerello Maskaleze and Nerello Capucci, among white wines – the most famous – Carricante. No wonder that god Bacchus chose slopes of Etna for his vineyards.

Legends about the volcano

  • Ancient legends and mythical stories are often told about the volcano. According to one of them, the goddess Athena imprisoned the giant Enceladus, a son of Uranus and Gaea, in the volcano. He is still a prisoner of Etna. Enceladus often tries to escape and shakes Etna, from the crater of which his breathing fire can be seen.
  • The ancient Greeks made the famous volcano the habitation of god Hephaestus – the best smith ever, son of Zeus and Hera. No one could make more beautiful and quality wrought-iron products than Hephaestus. He is the only god-worker in Greek mythology. In the crater of Etna, Hephaestus forged his masterpieces for gods and people. It is said that Hephaestus invented the wheel, for the chariot of his father Zeus.

How to get

You can get to the Mount Etna by bus. First come to Catania. There, on the bus station, you can take a bus, which will bring you to the mountain hut Rifugio Sapienza (bus goes once a day).

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