Mount Etna Tour
It is one of the most active
volcanoes in the world and the highest and largest in Europe. It is in fact
11.000 ft and covers an area of 606 sq mi. It is the result of very ancient
submarine eruptions in the gulf, which started in the Quaternary period, about
500.000 years ago, following movement between the tectonic plates: this released
magma up to the ocean floor into the area now occupied by Acicastello and caused surges of lava and vapour which settled in
the vicinity of modern day-Paternò.
The present profile is the result of an
explosion circa 14.000 years ago in which the elliptical crater appeared.
Throughout the centuries, because of thousands of explosions, the volcano
evolved into the present form: the summit consists of four main and active
craters, among which the South-East mouth has been the most dangerous one in
recent years, while the sides of Etna, are occupied by more than 250 extinct or
secondary craters. Etna was considered by the ancient Greeks the forge of the
god Vulcan or of the Cyclops; surely Greeks were struck by the violence of the
eruptions and determined that even other giants, like Typhon and Enceladus,
lived on and under the mountain. The name “Etna” was given by the Greeks (
Aetna” ) and it means “to burn”; later on under the Arabs the volcano was
called “Gebel ut Lamat”, the “mountain nearby”.
After the Arabs the word used
became “Mont Gebel”( Mongibello in Italian), which means “ the Mountain”, and
this latter remained until the beginning of last century. The volcano is known
to have erupted regularly during the Antiquity, at least 135 times. Among early
eruptions that of 475 BC has been described by Pindar and Aeschylus, while
that of 396, whose lava reached the sea, is said to have prevented Imilco from
marching on Syracuse. In 1169, 1329, and1381, the lava again reached the sea,
twice near Acireale, the third time
(1381) at Catania.
The most famous of most recent eruptions took place in 1669
when a cleft opened from the crater right down to Nicolosi and out poured a
river of lava that spread over a kilometre into the Ionian sea, devastating
everything in its path and killing 20.000 people.
In the 18th
and 19th century have been recorded about 30 other eruptions. In May
1923, a terrible fracture out poured lava almost until the town of
Linguaglossa. On November 1928, during the most deadly eruption of the
century, two cascades of fire shot up from a deep cleft in the mountain and
destroyed the town of Mascali,and also interrupted the railway from Catania to
Messina. The longest eruption was recorded in 1950-51, when three explosive
cones formed in the middle crater.
The highest of these reached 10.912 ft,
about the present height of the volcano. The 1971 eruption destroyed the
Observatory and the second stage of the cable-way on the summit as well as
vineyards, some houses near Fornazzo, the lava stream cut several roads and
stopped above Sant’ Alfio. More recently the volcano has caused lava streams
almost every year: 1983, 1985, 1990, 1992 …
In 2003 a big secondary mouth
opened next to the “Sapienza Refuge”( 5500 ft), and lava partially overwhelmed
the depart station of the cable-car, destroyed two small bars and restaurants
and threatened some private infrastructures.
Our tour will start by picking you up from your location, leaving the coast and passing through some of the Etna villages with a stop in Zafferana Etnea with a visit of the church Santa Maria della Provvidenza and the lava flow from 1992, we reach the height of 6.175 ft, where we will have a walking tour around the Silvestri Craters from 1892 . It is possible to continue the journey by jeep , we cross the lava flows up to the permitted height (about 10.000 ft.) to admire a wonderful landscape (by reservation).
On request we can visit the Alcantara Gorges. Miles of years ago a lava eruption covered the bed of the river. The magma, cooling off, formed prism basaltic high walls and the erosion of the river transformed it in a canyon. Between the high and black lava walls, flow limpid small lakes, cascades and small beaches.
You can personalize your own tour by choosing different destinations, your own timetable and the accompany of a private guide.
Other suggested Tour:
Mount Etna Taormina Godfather Syracuse Catania Agrigento and Piazza Armerina Ragusa Ibla – Modica – Noto Cefalù and Tindari