(Photo by Piero Mammino)
ETNA: HISTORY AND CURIOSITIES OF THE SICILIAN VOLCANO
Welcome to Sicily, land of sun, sea, art and culture, where Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe, dominates the landscape.
In this article, I will take you to discover the birth of the volcano, the origin of the name “Etna”, its history and the people who lived on the volcano in the past.
You will also discover some of the most beautiful places to visit to get to know this Sicilian wonder better.
Etna, meaning of the name and other appellations of the Sicilian volcano
Etna, also known as Mongibello, Aetna, Idda or Mongibeddu in Sicilian, is the largest active volcano in Europe which dominates the view from Catania and its entire province, earning admiration and respect from all who have the chance to find out.
Perhaps you already knew this but do you also know what the name Etna means?
The origin of the name “Etna” is still uncertain today but two of the most accredited theories indicate that it may derive from the Greek term “Aetna”, which means “furnace”, or from the Sicilian word “etna”, which means “mountain”.
The birth of Etna
Etna was formed about 500,000 years ago, during the Pleistocene era, thanks to volcanic activity which created a series of eruptions and which, over time, formed its current structure.
Over the millennia, thanks to eruptions and lava, Etna has expanded to reach a height of 3,329 meters, becoming one of the most important symbols of Sicily.
The peoples of history who have lived on Etna
Etna has hosted many populations over the centuries, including the Sicani, the Sicilians and the ancient Greeks.
The latter, in particular, considered Etna the home of the God of fire Hephaestus and throughout their history, built many cities on its slopes, including Catania, Randazzo and Adrano.
Moving on to more recent times however, we can find that over the centuries, Etna has also hosted monks and shepherds, who created temporary settlements on its slopes to live there but also, think about it, to conserve the ice, precious as it is rare. ally, before the invention of refrigerators.
Today, Etna is a popular tourist attraction, a travel destination for tourists from all over the world and thanks to its unique characteristics and its natural beauty, in 2013, the volcano and the entire park to which it belongs were awarded the ‘ U.N.E.S.C.O of the title of World Heritage Site.
What to see on Etna
There are many places to visit on Etna, from the Valle del Bove, a huge natural crater formed by a volcanic eruption to the summit craters but it’s not just the magnificent volcano that is worthy of discovery.
In fact, even the Etna Park area offers many opportunities for hiking or cycling, enjoying breathtaking views of the volcano and the Sicilian coast.
The volcano for history lovers
If you are interested in the history of Etna, one of the attractions to visit is Nelson Castle, located in the municipality of Bronte, a few kilometers from the volcano and home of the Bronte Pistachio, the most prized pistachio in the world.
This castle was built in the 19th century by the British to protect the area from French invasion, but it is believed that its location was also chosen to have a privileged view of Mount Etna.
This makes us understand how much Etna continues to fascinate cultures and peoples since time immemorial.
Visit Etna with a complete experience
If you are looking for an experience that contemplates Etna but also the neighboring territories, the best solution could be to book a private tour that will allow you to discover the complete history of the volcano, taking you to the highest panoramic points in Sicily and will give you a visit to the wine cellars on Etna, known for its fine wines, with a truly unique flavor, thanks to the particular characteristics of the volcanic soil.
In summary, Etna is a unique place, rich in history and natural beauty.
Visiting the volcano and its slopes will offer you an unforgettable experience, among breathtaking views, millenary history and unique food and wine traditions in the world.
Book your Volcano Experience and let yourself be conquered by the magic of Etna!