Mount Etna Volcano on the Island of Sicily, Italy
Italy is one of the most famous destinations and one of the countries around the world that receives the most visitors and tourists all year around. However, don’t think Italy is just for the culturally-driven or history-obsessed, there are many other sides of Italy that a lot of people are not aware of.
Holidays in Sicily have been known for years as great adventures for the lovers of the outdoors. Not only you can enjoy beautiful beaches and plenty of historic ruins to satisfy even the most curious of minds, but Sicily’s most well-known attraction is Mount Etna, easily accessible from Piedimonte Etneo, a good place to rent villas in Sicily.
Mount Etna is the highest active volcano in Europe. Walking around the Mount really feels like you have been transported to a different world. You can live this unique experience in many ways, too. While there are marked footpaths that you can follow on y our own or with your party should you feel adventurous, there are also organized group walks. A walk to the higher part of the volcano takes between three and four hours (on the southern approach, from Rifugio Sapienza to summit it takes about 4 hours; from Piano Provenzana, on the northern approach, about 3 hours to the top). If walking and hiking activities are not your cup of tea, there are also organized excursions in which you can ride on a 4×4 vehicle. You can take the cable car ride which offers superb views over Catania and the sea.
And just because you are looking for an adventure this summer, remember you don’t necessarily have to “rough it up” in the first campsite you come across. Book one of the many luxury villas in Italy available in any season and enjoy a nice shower and a lovely meal (you can even hire out a cook to prepare you dinner in some properties!) and rest for the night in a comfy bed, ready for next day’s adventure!
Sicily is known for many things, its archeological history, and art among them, but perhaps the one feature most associated with the island is Mount Etna. While not as famous as Mount Vesuvius in neighboring Italy, Mount Etna is the tallest active volcano in Europe.
The volcano is approximately 11,000 feet high, but this figure changes with each eruption, which has happened many times during its long history. Mount Etna was known to the Greeks who believed it to be the home of the god of fire, Vulcan. They also associated it as being the home of the Cyclops, the one-eyed giant who attempted to imprison and kill Ulysses.
Mount Etna is a significant scientific resource for volcanologists. Its many eruptions are chronicled on several web sites and the fact that its volcanic activity has been documented and recorded for so long makes it important for research. Nearly 4,000 square feet of the volcano’s surface is encased with solidified lava.
Still, it maintains is mysteries. The actual height of the summit changes with each eruption. It also is covered with smaller peaks and caves that provide so many vents that it is difficult to determine exactly where the next eruption might occur. Despite its danger, Mount Etna is a tourist attraction, with skiing on its slopes in winter and hiking in the summer.
Flora and Fauna
Mount Etna is located on the northeast part of the island and is known for the plant and animal life in its forests that are not covered by lava. Oak and pine forest cover its slopes where tourists hike in the summer and come to see the leaves turn in the fall. The forests also teem with wildlife, including squirrels, wild cats, and lizards.
The numerous ponds and lakes formed by its pockmarks contain much fish and are a natural habitat for many types of ducks and herons. Its volcanic rock formations attract tourists. In particular is the Alcantara Gorge to the north of the volcano, which is composed of basalt, and is a popular destination for sight-seers. Each of its slopes features nature trails and hiking expeditions. Guided tours and package trips to these areas of the volcano are offered.