Mount Etna

Etna: a marvellous group of different types of flora

The short horizontal distance with which Etna reaches an altitude of almost 3400 metres means it is home to many different microclimates and environments, from maritime to mountain to alpine, favoured by the excellent fertility of the volcanic soil . This encourages the presence of numerous plant species, from trees and shrubs to grasses and the astragalus siculus, often populated by species with intensely coloured flowers in the favourable seasons. The higher they are, the plants become smaller and smaller until they are no more, and the active volcano takes over.
 fiori ed arbusti in mezzo alla cenere nelle zone di media montagnaPlant life at higher altitudes is populated by highly specialised organisms, which have had to adapt to adverse weather conditions and the destructive action of lava.
These very plants are the most valuable species of Etna’s flora. Many are endemic, meaning they are not found anywhere else on earth.
On the slopes of the Etna massif, dotted with large and small towns, the landscape appears to have been strongly modified by the prevalence of agricultural activity. This area is called “thermo-Mediterranean” and consists of an olive-green mastic shrubland. At higher altitudes, the dark green of the evergreen holly oak woods, an area called “meso-Mediterranean”, contrasts with the chestnut and oak woods of the “supra-Mediterranean”; they are bare in winter, turn green in summer and take on the typical seasonal colours in autumn. In the Mediterranean montane ecosystem, the woods are dominated by fascinating beech trees with their unmistakable reddish-brown colour in autumn and by birch, a plant with a characteristic white bark often lacerated by darker incisions.

Acireale and reconstruction after the 1693 earthquake

The Grand Tour in Sicily

Why is Etna one of the most studied volcanoes in the world?

The continuous evolution of the Etna summit craters

The 2001 eruption of Etna, when the Mountain seemed to be alive

The living mountain

Etna, a natural laboratory where experiments can be carried out

The senses tell Torre del Filosofo

The senses tell The Etna Viewpoint

Valle del Leone and the Elliptical

The different names of the “Muntagna”

The senses tell The Red Mountains

The eruption of 1928 that destroyed the town of Mascali

Summit crater activity between 2011 and 2019

The Jaci river

The senses tell The summit craters

The senses tell Acicastello and Acitrezza


Humankind and the volcano: how should we behave? Volcanic risk

An ever-evolving volcano

The Elliptical, the first great volcano of Etna

The Red Mountains and the destructive eruption of 1669

The world’s first (almost successful) attempt to stop a lava flow: the eruption of 1991-93

The senses tell Val Calanna

Etna: a marvellous group of different types of flora

The senses tell Acireale

The earthquake that changed the geography of eastern Sicily in 1693

Lachea Island and the Aci Trezza Stacks

Torre del Filosofo: at the base of the summit craters (2950 metres)

The “notches” of snow

A fauna yet to be discovered

Acireale and its “timpe”

The 1669 eruption in Catania

The first volcanic structures of Etna, between Aci Castello and Aci Trezza

Val Calanna, the first step towards a single large volcanic structure

The Etna viewpoint

The fault system of the “Timpe” of Acireale

The senses tell Valle del Leone

Empedocles and his passion for Etna