Etna, the volcano

The eruption took place January 5, 2012“… The pillar of heaven, Etna covered in snow, nurse of the stinging and eternal ice. ” (Pindar, Pythian I, 470 BC) The ancients looked upon the mountain with awe and respect. They had made it the home of Vulcan, the god of fire, and the Cyclops. Navigators of the ancient Mediterranean knew Etna well, because it was often their beacon, and its short name exists since the dawn of civilization. Its meaning is therefore lost in the mist of time and ancient languages. The Arabs were so impressed by it that they called it “the Mountain of all mountains” ( “Mongibello“), the mountain par excellence. In the Ionian zone of Sicily, the huge gulf that stretched between the Peloritani- and the Iblei-mountains was filled by the first submarine eruptions that created Etna, and in part, by the alluvial deposits that the river Simeto piled up, to form the current Plain of Catania.
In this bay, about half a million years ago, occurred the first eruptive events of which there is

testimony, and remains of that submarine lava can be seen in the territory of the municipality of Acicastello (CT) the Homeric Faraglioni (Rocks of the Cyclops) of Acitrezza (CT) , the “Flow of pillow” by the rock of the medieval castle of Acicastello (CT), at Aci Trezza and Ficarazzi (CT) and the ancient fishing village of Capo Mulini (CT), which stands on these lumps of lava from ancient origins. ). Etna is the largest volcano in Europe, and its height at the summit craters reaches the altitude of about 3350 m, but this height is extremely variable over time as the explosive activity is not always of the “constructive” kind, but sometimes it can be “destructive” causing collapses and subsidence of the walls of the crater. On the east side, the volcano has a deep depression called theValle del Bove (the Bove-valley), a huge hole with a diameter of about 7 km-5 km, with up to 1,000 meters high walls which appears to have originated from the collapse of parts of the old volcanic mass after explosive events.

la caldera dell'etna valle del boveThis occurred in an unspecified period of the late Tertiary of about 5.3 million years ago. But this is mentioned elsewhere. The duration of the volcanic activity of the craters varies, ranging from a few hours to several months and even years; the length, the scope and the extent of the lava flows depend primarily on the duration and extent of the eruption, but also from other factors related to the morphology of the soil on which they run.

L‘Etna is the highest active volcano in Europe, and with its height it dominates the whole Ionian coast and is visible from a distance over 250 km; with its 1260 l'immensa caldera della valle del bovesquare kilometers of lava surface enclosed within a perimeter of 250 km, Etna is today a tourist resort both winter and summer for international holiday-makers, walkers and athletes, a resort which combines ancient memories with the comfort of modern equipment. The tourist flow during summer is significant, and it consists of holiday-makers staying in the resort towns of Taormina and Giardini Naxos, tourists from around the world, enchanted by the landscape and a close visit, especially when the volcano is in eruption a visit is an experience that is unique in the world.
An intense and unforgettable experience is this ascension of Etna. It would be unthinkable to visit Sicily without meeting its most evocative and impressive symbol.
Etna offers a spectacular blend of shades of colors ranging from the slopes and way up to the craters, where you can admire the most recent lava flows. To undertake an excursion to the volcano, through the various equipped paths where you can walk through vineyards, orchards, pistachio-growing, hazelnut groves, fields of broom, and then, near the crater when the volcanic activity allows you, the discovery of the “Etna Landscapes” unique and unforgettable.

eruzione-etna-con-sfondo-di-cataniaIf you are lucky enough to come here when Etna emits its immense power, it is a show of enviable beauty. The huge explosions are caused by gas mixed with the magma inside the volcano and makes us feel really small  in front of nature. If you are lucky to stand in the right places, you will be able to admire jets and flows of lava of incredible beauty. But Etna is also a fully equipped mountain resort during the winter, and thanks to its impressive height there is soft snow almost all year.

The majority of Sicilian ski enthusiasts stop skiing in late March, because the skiing facilities close.rifugio-sapienza-inverno But Etna offers skiing during every season – ski mountaineering and free ride way beyond March, thanks to the almost always gentle snowing, especially in the slopes that are less exposed to the sun. And we assure you that it is the best skiing of the season. One should take advantage of it as long as there are narrow stripes of snow, it is an occasion not to be missed, and you can enjoy a skiing holiday in the middle of the beautiful scenery of a day spent getting a tan, either on the slopes of Etna or on the beach of Giardini Naxos.
All these possibilities are offered during a visit of those who love to see and live the life in contact with true nature. So, skiing on the volcano, Etna

Una veduta dell'eruzione dell'Etna dal Teatro Antico di Taormina, 19 febbraio 2013. ANSA/ CARLO PAPALE

In particular, with a variety of landscapes that pass before the amazed eyes of the observer, who is unlikely to remain impassive in front of such a spectacle of nature, offering unique and particular feelings  thanks to the constant contrast offered by the landscape .. the white snow with the blue Ionian Sea as a background and the magnificent bay of Taormina, it is all astounding and of enchanting beauty. And … if you are indecisive whether to spend a holiday dedicated to skiing and snow offered by Etna, and taking a swim in the hot and mythical waters of the Bay of Giardini Naxos, you will have an endless choice of routes to follow …

… And you will get lost and realize that only one holiday for all of this will never be enough.