• Kate

Etna active volcano, Sicily, Italy

The most active volcano in Europe Called by Sicilians “La Montagna”, the Mountain par excellence, Etna Volcano is located 30 km from Catania, in eastern Sicily.

Etna volcano - is one of the world's most active volcanoes and is in an almost constant state of activity. It is currently 3,326 m high, though this varies with summit eruptions.

The Etna presents a great geological variety and of landscapes (dense forests with endemic species, deserted areas covered in volcanic rock and subject to snow conditions): this is why a large part of its territory has been included in the Natural Park of the Etna. On June, 21st 2013 the Mount Etna has been declared Unesco World Heritage. With its inclusion, the region of Sicily boasts six UNESCO sites among the 48 total in Italy.

The most famous eruptions

The eruptions of Etna have had dramatic implications even in ancient times, as evidenced by the historical tales of 475 BC. During the Middle-Ages, however, several towns were destroyed by lava in 1169 and 1329.

The most catastrophic eruption occurred in 1169, when the arms of lava descended on the entire eastern side, until they ended their course in the waters of the Mediterranean, not before it had surrounded the bastion of the Ursino Castle, once an outpost of the sea. Of the eruptions closer to our days, in the ‘70s the lava destroyed the volcano observatory, while 9 tourists were killed by being too close to the central crater during the eruption.

In 1992, Etna gave some concern to the citizens of Zafferana who saw the lava arrive a few kilometers from the town. To cope with the various fronts of lava, it was necessary to have the army intervene: high amounts of containment and explosives charges enabled the avoidance of major threats to the population.

In 2001 and in 2002 to stop the path of the lava, facing south towards Nicolosi and on the north side of Lingfield, there was once again the intervention of the intervention teams to attempt to resolve this issue without further consequences to the citizens of the foothills, though it became impossible to save the cable car lift.

The last big eruption - 2018

Christmas Eve 2018 will certainly remain in the memories of the inhabitants of the Etnean territory: during the early hours of December 24th, in fact, began a seismic wave accompanied by a great emissions of volcanic ash. A significant eruptive activity that lasted for about 4 days.

After a lively Strombolian activity that affected the new South-East crater in the pre-Christmas period, the last significant eruptive activity that affected the highest active volcano in Europe began at around 9.30 am. An eruptive fissure opened at the eastern base of the South-East Crater and spread towards the western wall of the “Valle del Bove” reaching an altitude of 2400 metres above sea level. A second eruptive fissure also opened between the new South-East crater and the North-East crater, producing a weak Strombolian activity at the same time as the one due to the North-East Crater and the “Bocca Nuova”. The totality of the activity of the different eruptive craters has generated a cloud of ash, a plume visible from several kilometers away. So much volcanic ash has fallen on the Etnean towns, especially on the territory of Zafferana Etnea, and has also compromised the activity of the airport of Catania: no flight arriving or departing from the Etnean airport. A lava flow continued to flow into the Valle del Bove until the night between 26th and 27th December.

Etna is one of Sicily's main tourist attractions, with thousands of visitors every year. The most common route is through the road leading to Sapienza Refuge ski area, lying at the south of the crater at elevation of 1910 m. From the Refuge, a cableway runs uphill to an elevation of 2500 m, from where the crater area at 2920 m is accessible.

Notice: Sapienza Refuge has a good food, wine and atmosphere.

We came to the Sapienza Refuge with the car, we took cableway.

Then we choose to walk up from the finish cableway 2500 m till 2920 m, this is area where you can stay in safe (you can choose also the payment bus).

Yes, this is lava.

It was hard to go up but I love trekking so I wanted to go by myself.

I felt like on the Mars.

Notice: when you are up you need some jacket, hat, scarf and gloves. It's freeze there.

Take a look what to visit in Sicily.

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