Mount Etna

The different names of the “Muntagna”

The name Etna is inextricably linked to stories, myths and legends. And like all things rooted in myth and legend, it is difficult to find a single solution.
In Greek, the name Etna is feminine (Αἰτνα). 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 Saracens, 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”, an obvious case of synonymy translating to “Mount Mountain”. In the Middle Ages, Mons Gibel became Mongibello, a name still used locally today for this wonderful volcano.

The fault system of the “Timpe” of Acireale

Empedocles and his passion for Etna

An ever-evolving volcano

The senses tell The Red Mountains

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

The senses tell The Etna viewpoint

The senses tell Torre del Filosofo

The earthquake that changed the geography of eastern Sicily in 1693

The continuous evolution of the Etna summit craters

Volcanic monitoring and eruption forecasting

The 1669 eruption in Catania

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

The senses tell The Summit craters

Etna, an ever-changing natural laboratory

Why did Etna form in that specific geographical position?

The Red Mountains and the destructive eruption of 1669

The senses tell Acicastello and Acitrezza

Acireale and its “timpe”

The senses tell Valle del Leone

Etna: a marvellous group of microclimates and vegetation

Valle del Leone and the Elliptical

Summit crater activity between 2011 and 2019

Etna, the living mountain

The “notches” of snow


Acireale and reconstruction after the 1693 earthquake

A fauna context yet to be discovered

The senses tell Val Calanna

The first Etnean volcanic events between Aci Castello and Aci Trezza

The Jaci river

Lachea Island and the Aci Trezza Stacks

The Grand Tour in Sicily

The Elliptical, the first great volcano of Etna

The eruption of 1928 that destroyed the town of Mascali

Etna, wine terroir of excellence

The Etna viewpoint

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

The senses tell Acireale

The different names of the “Muntagna”

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