Mount Etna

The different names of the “Muntagna”

The origin of the name “Etna” is linked to stories, myths and legends. And like everything that comes from myths and legends, it is not easy to find an exact answer.
In Greek, the name Etna is feminine (Αitna). It is the name of a nymph, the daughter of Uranus and Gaea (Heaven and Earth) or of the Titan Oceanus, or of the Giant Briareus.
According to some legends, one day Aitna joined Hephaestus , the god of fire, and from this union the Palici were born, two strong twins who, with the cyclops, helped Hephaestus in his work as a celestial blacksmith.
According to other tales, the Palici are the sons of Zeus and Thalia, the daughter of Hephaestus.
Others suggest that Aitna derives from αἵυο, a verb that expresses the act of burning with intense heat, linking the origin of the name “Etna” to the Greek colonisers in the 7th century BC.
The populations that succeeded one another on the island gave the majestic volcano other names.
The Arabs, during their rule over Sicily around the year 1000, called it “Giabal Huthamet”, meaning mountain of fire.
The word Giabal, which in Arabic means “Mount”, underwent many changes, becoming Gibel.
During the French rule by King Charles of Anjou in the 13th century, the word Gibel was joined by the French equivalent of mount, Mons. Etna then became “Mons Gibel”, which when translated into English would mean “Mount Mountain”. In the Middle Ages, Mons Gibel became Mongibello, a name still used locally today for this wonderful volcano.

The continuous evolution of the Etna summit craters

The fault system of the “Timpe” of Acireale

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

Acireale and reconstruction after the 1693 earthquake

The “notches” of snow

The Elliptical, the first great volcano of Etna

The Grand Tour in Sicily

The senses tell Acicastello and Acitrezza

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

The Jaci river

The earthquake that changed the geography of eastern Sicily in 1693


Acireale and its “timpe”

Etna: a marvellous group of different types of flora

The senses tell The Etna Viewpoint

The 1669 eruption in Catania

Summit crater activity between 2011 and 2019

Etna, a natural laboratory where experiments can be carried out

Empedocles and his passion for Etna

The senses tell Val Calanna

The senses tell The Red Mountains

The senses tell Acireale

Valle del Leone and the Elliptical

The living mountain

The Red Mountains and the destructive eruption of 1669

A fauna yet to be discovered

The different names of the “Muntagna”

The senses tell Torre del Filosofo

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

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

An ever-evolving volcano

The senses tell Valle del Leone

The eruption of 1928 that destroyed the town of Mascali

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

The senses tell The summit craters

Lachea Island and the Aci Trezza Stacks

The Etna viewpoint

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

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