Let’s talk about a tourist destination of excellence. Mt Etna, a true volcano of things to do, so much so that flocks of tourists come here every year from every corner of the world. Indeed, together with the volcanological aspect you can also benefit from activities such as: trekking along the paths and craters of mt Etna, horse trekking, excursions with experts in the sector who take you right inside the famous grottoes…
Enthusiastic tours by Mountain bike that goes along fascinating paths of the mt Etna landscape. The wine tours to the ancient wine cellars on mt Etna where you can discover the flavors of this land, and many more activities that can be taken on mt Etna. Therefore, let’s discover more before organising our trip to Sicily and Mount Etna.
Impressive and majestic, through bright colors of nature which surrounds it, through the whiteness of the snow and the blackness of the ash, Mt Etna is not only a simple volcano for the Sicilians or any old mountain, even though for most people Etna is “merely” the highest most active volcano in Europe, with its 3224 meters in height. For the Sicilians mt Etna is the mountain of excellence, for them Etna is “the mountain”. It is a symbol of a nature that talks to them, by throwing out its smoke and lava, then disappearing for days through the fog and then reappearing, with all its magnificence, after an absence. Mount Etna is a majestic figure which dominates and watches over everything which surrounds it.
Legends and myths
From the time of the ancient Greeks the importance of Etna was admired, its name derives from the ancient goddess, daughter of the medieval god Uranus and Gea. Prior to the gods of Olympus, according to many ancient legends, the peak of this pinnacle saved Deucalion and Pyrrha from worldwide floods sent by Zeus to destroy humanity. The Roman poet Claudian, instead, tells how the interior of the volcano hides the remains of the giants defeated by the gods. The Christian story, however, tells how only Saint Agatha was able to satisfy the rage of the “mountain”. The popular tradition tells how many episodes of disastrous eruptions and catastrophes were suddenly stopped thanks to the interception of the saint.
A place that attracts
To give an answer to the grandeur of the volcanic events of Etna, though, you cannot just believe in popular legends. It is impossible to reconstruct in a few lines all the studies and geological history of Etna. Although, it is possible to say that, one of the motives for which this volcano attracts scholars and visitors from all parts of the world is the ease from which you can reach the summit craters and the eruptive vents, still active, where many researchers carry out their analysis and surveys.
The craters of mt Etna
The eruptions occur on the summit as well as on its slopes. There are four craters on the summit of Etna, all appearing in the last century. The North-east crater (1911), the Voragine crater (1945), the Bocca Nuova crater (1968), the South-east crater (1971). The craters on the slopes number three hundred and are the most dangerous, as they are closer to the towns situated on the slopes of the volcano. Around these craters, the accumulation of lava and ash give life to the so-called “temporary cones” which following the eruptions are overgrown with vegetation and become part of the landscape. It is the ideal terrain for viticulture.
The mt Etna wines
The soil on mt Etna is ideal for the growing of grapes for wine-making due to its extraordinary biodiversity. Indeed, due to its particular soil of volcanic nature, together with a varied climate, aspects that change according to the altitude, from the position and exposure to the sun, cannot but not give fruit to extraordinary wines. A wine tradition going back to before the Greek-Roman times. However, the period of major development regarding the wine production in the mt Etna area was in ‘700. A period in which the vines assumed the elements that still characterize them even now: buildings and wine cellars made from lava stone, small stone towers, and plots of land defined by olive, cherry, chestnut and mulberry trees.