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Villa Sant`Andrea Hotel, Sicily, Italy

Mount Etna

At 3,300m (10,827ft), Mount Etna towers over the eastern coast of Sicily, its smoking peak visible from virtually every part of the island.

Europe’s largest live volcano is relatively young, having emerged “only” two million years ago, but its importance in terms of symbolic power, geographical size and as a magnet for visitors is enormous. Ice-capped and fuming, it erupts fairly often (every few years) but with little threat to human life. And as the mythical burial place of certain gods, it exerts a fascination that goes beyond rocks and lava.

To climb Mount Etna is a momentous experience. Beyond the pretty villages at its base are citrus groves, vineyards and magnificent forests — the paradox of Etna is that, though its angry eruptions may decimate the landscape, the volcanic soil produced as a result is supremely fertile. Further up, you come to a barren, black, lava-hewn landscape, a stark contrast to the Mediterranean’s dazzling hues in the distance. A steep trudge through the snow finally brings you to one of the smoking, abyss-like craters at the top — an overwhelming and emotional experience for many.

A hike up Mount Etna makes for an exhilarating day trip. But for those who would rather stay on the ground, the pure spectacle of the volcano’s lava flows at night — a natural fireworks display — is a thrill not to be missed.
Adventures on Mount Etna  

Adventures on Mount Etna

Hike through the volcano’s fascinating, lunar-style landscape and get thrillingly close to lava flows.  More »

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