Etna Experience organizes Etna tour, excursions, full and half day trips to enjoy the best visit, trekking and guided tours to Mount Etna Volcano

Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe, 3357m, is always active. On clear days, it is visible from Calabria and even Malta. At the summit, a plume of smoke can be seen every day, indicating the state of activity of the Mongibello.
The feature of Etna that we find most interesting is certainly its always being something “new”. What do we mean? Today we are talking about the summit craters, there are four of them. Until not so long ago, there was only one. Again not so long ago, there were even five! These constant mutations bring us an ever-changing volcano to admire and study.

But what has happened?
Let’s go in order.

  • Until the beginning of the last century

Until the early years of the last century, the summit of Etna had only the Central Crater, like the classic volcano we all drew as children. It was a giant, whose diameter was estimated by scholars to be around 500 metres, and was probably the result of a collapse caused by the frightful eruption of 1669.

  • 1911

In 1911, a new eruption led to the birth of the North-East Crater, a crater that combined moments of intense activity with others that were much quieter, arriving at the end of the 1990s with a lot of energy to release. The paroxysms of the late 1990s caused the North-East Crater to grow a lot, which, with the official measurement made by INGV in 2008, became the summit of Etna, with its 3330m.

The North-East Crater “cut” by the sunbeams during the sunset. Photo credit: Danilo Costanzo
IG: @danjacostanzo
  • 1945

In 1945, a new summit activity led to the birth of the Voragine, a crater born on the northern flank of the Central Crater. Over the years, the Voragine has also been characterised by very impetuous activity: a famous one occurred in December 2015, which saw an eruptive column rise some 15 km above sea level!

  • 1968

In 1968, a new activity led to the creation of the Bocca Nuova, right next to the Voragine, but south of it. Its activity over the years has led to an increase in its size. Today, the diameter of the Bocca Nuova measures approximately 400 metres.

The inner part of the Bocca Nuova. Photo credit: Danilo Costanzo IG: @danjacostanzo
  • 1971

Just three years later, in 1971, it was the turn of the South-East Crater. From a small cone, “father” of very “humble” activity, it turned into a really active crater, offering paroxysms, lava effusions and Strombolian activity, and then began the new millennium with a frenetic activity that resulted in a rapid and incredible growth of its structure.

  • From 2007

Starting in 2007, Etna’s activity decided to move a little further east, from a very small mouth: the New South-East Crater. From 2011, the New South-East Crater became the volcano’s absolute protagonist: in just five years it reached the size that the South-East Crater had reached in almost half a century.

The Sout-East Crater and the New South-East Crater seen from the Bocca Nuova.
Photo credit: Danilo Costanzo IG: @danjacostanzo

With its violent paroxysms in recent years, over 50 in 2021, the South-East Crater has become Etna’s new peak. According to official measurements, we have now reached 3357m. A number that, in the meantime, has probably already changed. From 2021 to today, in fact, the South-East Crater has offered other beautiful paroxysms that have affected this number.

The New South-East Crater. Photo credit: Danilo Costanzo IG: @danjacostanzo

Would you like to reach Etna’s summit craters? Contact us and join one of our excursions, we will be happy to lead you to discover the beauty of our beloved volcano!