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Sicily Travel Guide

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Mount Etna, Sicily

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Mount Etna

Mount Etna  is the largest  volcano in Europe and one of the most active in the world.  It rises almost 11,000 feet above sea level and is frequently snow capped.  Humankind has tied the mountain to mythology and the Greeks were particularly fond of Mt Etna, linking it with the gods  Aeolus and  Vulcan, as well as many other mythological figures.

The best way to explore Mount Etna is to arrange a tour in either Catania or Taormina.  If you are independently minded, take the Circumetnea train, which, appropriately enough, almost circles the volcano and makes stops along the way if you want to  disembark and hike up to the lava flows or older craters.  Catch the Circumetnea at either the Bargo Station in the southern section of Catania or the Giarre Station in northern Catania.  For more information, see the official Circumetnea website.

 


 

Lava flows litter Mount Etna's slopes (above) and evidence of recent eruptions (below) are usually not hard to find.  Although there are villages on the slopes of the volcano, you should realize that this is a very active volcano that has the potential for a massive eruption.  Although large eruptions are usually presaged by several days, if not weeks, of earth tremors, minor eruptions often occur with limited warning.  If you are going to explore the upper reaches of the volcano, hire a professional guide who knows Mount Etna's temperament. The latest eruptions were in 2011.

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