Valle del Leone

The Elliptical, the first great volcano of Etna

In Etna’s history, the Elliptical was its first great stratovolcano , with a shape very similar to the present one. Its activity began around 66,000 years ago and ended 15,000 years ago, when today’s eruptive era began, the era of the Mongibello Recente.
The study of the Elliptical’s lava flows and volcanic products present in the area of the Valle del Leone suggests that the previous volcanic structure was higher than it is now, reaching an altitude of around 3600 metres. However, as in all stories related to the life of a volcano, there are constructive periods as well as destructive ones. At the end of the Elliptical’s life around 15,000 years ago, the entire summit area sank. This formed a large elliptical caldera , which is where the volcano took its name, up to 8 km long at its widest point. Recently, scientists discovered that the formation of a caldera like this one can be linked to a period that also occurred in other phases of Etna’s life, where the emission of very large and abnormal volumes of lava flows quickly emptied the magma chamber and led to the collapse of its roof, causing the caldera to form.
caldera dell’Ellittico

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

The senses tell The summit craters

Etna: a marvellous group of different types of flora

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

Summit crater activity between 2011 and 2019

The Grand Tour in Sicily

The senses tell Acicastello and Acitrezza

The senses tell Val Calanna

The fault system of the “Timpe” of Acireale

Etna, a natural laboratory where experiments can be carried out

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

The Jaci river

An ever-evolving volcano

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

The senses tell The Etna Viewpoint

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

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

The eruption of 1928 that destroyed the town of Mascali

The senses tell Torre del Filosofo

The Etna viewpoint

Acireale and its “timpe”

The senses tell Valle del Leone


The 1669 eruption in Catania

Empedocles and his passion for Etna

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

The continuous evolution of the Etna summit craters

The “notches” of snow

The senses tell Acireale

The senses tell The Red Mountains

The Elliptical, the first great volcano of Etna

The different names of the “Muntagna”

Valle del Leone and the Elliptical

A fauna yet to be discovered

Lachea Island and the Aci Trezza Stacks

Acireale and reconstruction after the 1693 earthquake

The living mountain

The earthquake that changed the geography of eastern Sicily in 1693

The Red Mountains and the destructive eruption of 1669