Mount Etna is the highest volcano in Europe, and one of most active of the world. It’s impressive size ( more than 10,915 feet/3327 meters high with an average basal diameter of 25 miles/40 kilometers) overlooks the whole region. Its spectacular eruptions and its fiery lava flows have always aroused the interest of scientists along with the curiosity of visitors from all over the world.
Since 2013 it is in the UNESCO World Heritage List for its geological peculiarities of planetary relevance. Its first eruptions occurred about 570,000 years ago, in the Ionian area, long before that Etna– as we know it today was formed.
The building up of the volcanic edifice has been interrupted over the centuries by several collapses. The current Valle del Bove originated 9200 years ago, is a consequence of Etna’s collapse phase that involves most of the recent geological history of the volcanic complex. Today the summit area consists in 4 summit craters, the Central one, the West Chasm or Bocca nuova (new mouth), the North sub-terminal crater and the Southeast sub-terminal crater apparatus.
There are several evidences of the Volcano eruptions starting from the classical period; among the most recent, we recall the 1669 eruption, which determined the formation of the Monti Rossi and reached Catania and the 1928 one that reached the town of Mascali.
Mount Etna is one of the most monitored volcanoes in the world.
The various hiking routes climb along the nature trails of the Etna Park, among woods and verdant orchards, up to the highest altitudes with fascinating views of lunar landscapes, ancient lava flows, caves and active fumaroles, revealing the charm of this extraordinary natural oasis.
Evocative lunar landscapes, typical of the volcanic activity, are interspersed with natural environments of rare beauty. The large rivers flowing around the Volcano, the Alcantara to the north, with its natural canyon of Alcantara Gorges, and the Simeto to the west, have modeled their paths following the lava of Etna, creating amazing natural sites.