Torre del Filosofo

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

In past centuries, shelters were built at different altitudes on the volcano, even in areas where today no one would ever think of building something.
The oldest refuge was found at an altitude of 2920 metres, at the base of the summit craters, on a small hill called Torre del Filosofo. It is said that the ruins of this refuge, now completely covered over by recent lava, were those of the philosopher Empedocles, which is where this area took its name. Aside from the various shelters built in the Etnean caves, used by travellers from all over Europe until the end of 1700, between the late 19th and 20th century, others were built on Etna at every height. One of the historical buildings beyond the Etna Observatory on the upper north-eastern flank is “La Casa degli Inglesi” (House of the English).
La Casa IngleseIn 1804, the scholar Mario Gemmellaro had a modest hut built at his own expense on the plateau adjacent to the ruins of the Torre del Filosofo and named it “La Gratissima”. His brother Carlo, who was also a doctor in the service of the British fleet stationed in Messina, had the chance in 1811 to accompany some of His Majesty’s officers on an excursion to the crater and to offer them lodging at La Gratissima. Grateful and fascinated by the trip, they offered to build a larger and more comfortable building next to the first one, which was called “Casa degli Inglesi” (House of the English) in their memory. It was then used for over half a century.
crateri da Torre del Filosofo
In 1960, a refuge was built dedicated to Empedocles, a philosopher from Agrigento, and the area was also named after him. This refuge was subsequently modernised and used as a base for scholars from all over the world throughout the late 20th century, before being partially buried by the eruptive flows of 2001. After this event, only part of the roof and the antennas mounted on it remained visible. After the 2002-03 eruption, when one of the two cones formed a few dozen metres from the refuge, all traces of it disappeared.

The eruption of 1928 that destroyed the town of Mascali

The earthquake that changed the geography of eastern Sicily in 1693

The senses tell Acireale

Empedocles and his passion for Etna

The Red Mountains and the destructive eruption of 1669

Etna, a natural laboratory where experiments can be carried out

Acireale and its “timpe”

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

The continuous evolution of the Etna summit craters

The different names of the “Muntagna”

The senses tell Torre del Filosofo

The Grand Tour in Sicily

The fault system of the “Timpe” of Acireale

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

Summit crater activity between 2011 and 2019

The “notches” of snow

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

The 1669 eruption in Catania

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

The senses tell The Etna Viewpoint

An ever-evolving volcano


Lachea Island and the Aci Trezza Stacks

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

The Etna viewpoint

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

The senses tell Valle del Leone

The living mountain

The senses tell Val Calanna

The senses tell The Red Mountains

The senses tell Acicastello and Acitrezza

A fauna yet to be discovered

The Elliptical, the first great volcano of Etna

Acireale and reconstruction after the 1693 earthquake

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

Valle del Leone and the Elliptical

The senses tell The summit craters

The Jaci river

Etna: a marvellous group of different types of flora