Etna is the highest active volcano in Europe with its 3326 meters. It’s protected by UNESCO and it is distinguished by the various landscapes that alternate on its slopes, different environments ranging from woods to desert areas.
Its complex structure is due to the many eruptive centers that over time have modified and shaped the surrounding territory. It can be visited all year long thanks to many tours, on foot or by jeep.
How to get to Etna
Etna is easily accessible throughout the year. By car, you need to reach Nicolosi to reach the south side, or reach Zafferana Etnea to go up the north east side. There is also, once a day, a run of the A.S.T transport line that connects Catania to the Sapienza refuge. Finally there is the possibility to admire the landscape taking the circumetnea railway that passes through the various villages of the volcano.
During the winter the top of Etna is covered with snow, becoming a paradise for ski lovers. The facilities are open every day. On the eastern side of the Sapienza refuge there are 10 km of slopes that can be reached by a cable car, a chair lift and 3 ski lifts. On the north side of Piano Provenzano there are 5 slopes with ski lifts.
Eating on Etna
There are many places where you can go to taste the delicious local dishes while enjoying the beautiful panoramic views. Most of the restaurants are located near the Sapienza refuge, in the municipality of Nicolosi, in that of Zafferana Etnea and near the Silvestri craters.
Typical dishes of the territory
The starting point for excursions on Etna is the Sapienza refuge. Once at the refuge, take the cable car to the upper station from which you can only continue on foot or by jeep. There are numerous types of excursions, day and night. The most popular trails are those that cross the Bove valley and the Sartorius mountains. Other popular itineraries are those that lap the summit craters of Barbagallo and Silvestri, those that lead to the Alcantara gorge and the philosopher’s tower. The numerous eruptive fractures, the basalt flows, the lava caves and the northern birch forests are also worth seeing.
Risk of eruption?
Etna is classified as an active shield volcano, it is not explosive and is considered as not dangerous because its eruptive manifestations are efflusive and generate fluid lava flows. Etna still remains capable of massive eruptions such as that of 1928 in which the town of Mascali was buried. Today, however, the volcano is constantly monitored to avoid sudden eruptive events.