Mount Etna

Etna: a marvellous group of microclimates and vegetation

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 coastal to mountain to alpine, favoured by the excellent fertility of the volcanic soil .
This also leads to 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. With the gradual increase in altitude, these 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 montagna
Plant life at higher altitudes is represented 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 in the world. On the slopes of the Etna massif, dotted with large and small urban settlements, the landscape appears to have been strongly modified by the prevalence of agricultural elements.
The portions of vegetation that have remained intact are formed of xerophytes, shrubland, bushes and fragments of woodland. This area corresponds to the warmest point called “thermo-Mediterranean”, consisting of an olive-green mastic shrubland.
At higher altitudes, the dark green of the evergreen holly oak woods, known as the “meso-Mediterranean”, contrasts with the chestnut and deciduous oak woods of the higher area, called the “supra-Mediterranean”. They are bare in winter, turn green in the summer months and feature 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.

Etna, an ever-changing natural laboratory

The first Etnean volcanic events between Aci Castello and Aci Trezza

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

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

The senses tell Val Calanna

The continuous evolution of the Etna summit craters

Summit crater activity between 2011 and 2019

The different names of the “Muntagna”

The 1669 eruption in Catania

The senses tell The Red Mountains

A fauna context yet to be discovered

The Elliptical, the first great volcano of Etna


The Grand Tour in Sicily

The “notches” of snow

Why did Etna form in that specific geographical position?

The earthquake that changed the geography of eastern Sicily in 1693

The 2001 eruption of Mount Etna, where the approach to volcanoes changed

Etna, the living mountain

The senses tell The Summit craters

The Jaci river

The senses tell The Etna viewpoint

Valle del Leone and the Elliptical

Volcanic monitoring and eruption forecasting

The fault system of the “Timpe” of Acireale

Etna: a marvellous group of microclimates and vegetation

The senses tell Acireale

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

Empedocles and his passion for Etna

Lachea Island and the Aci Trezza Stacks

An ever-evolving volcano

Acireale and its “timpe”

Etna, wine terroir of excellence

Acireale and reconstruction after the 1693 earthquake

The senses tell Acicastello and Acitrezza

The Etna viewpoint

The senses tell Torre del Filosofo

The eruption of 1928 that destroyed the town of Mascali

The senses tell Valle del Leone

The Red Mountains and the destructive eruption of 1669