Mount Etna is the most majestic active volcano in Europe: all around the craters, the lava flows confirming the ceaseless activity of the volcano.
Today Etna, which dominates the entire province of Catania, looks like an enormous black cone (white in winter), visible from 250 km away.
It is a disturbing yet presence of which all of Catania’s inhabitants, whilst wary of the threat it represents, are just as proud of this natural treasure as they were in the past.
For the sailors, the mount Etna, known as “il Mongibello”, is “a natural lighthouse that does not need a lighthouse keeper”.
Once, its sight alone was enough to navigate, no need for a compass. Thus, the Etna for Sicilian sailors worked as an “anemometer, because the direction in which the smoke drifted indicated the direction of the wind forces, also as a barometer because, the arrangement of the clouds along Etna’s slopes, indicated the past rainfalls”.
The external structure of the mount Etna, as it appears to our eyes, has four craters: the Central Crater (the oldest one of the summit craters), the Bocca Nuova (formed in 1968), the North-East Crater (formed in 1911), and finally the youngest one, the South-East Crater (formed in 1971). This one in the last few years has considerably increased in height, due to frequent eruptions of the “Strombolian” type, which occurred in recent years.
Fatalism is fused with superstition, myth and legend but now through the constant monitoring of the area conducted by the Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, as well as technical interventions, it is possible to predict the volcanic activities, their importance and to take precautionary and preliminary action on the magma flows.