Etna: a force of nature

Mount Etna is one of the most beautiful and fascinating volcanoes in the world. It is on the east coast of Sicily, in southern Italy. It is the largest active volcano in Europe. I usually spend my weekends in Giarre a city near Catania, and from the terrace of my home I am lucky enough to admire the beauty of the volcano. When I happen to see the an eruption up close is an incredible emotion. In June 2013 Etna became part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. In UNESCO website, Etna is described as the highest Mediterranean island mountain and the most active stratovolcano in the world. Its activity has lasted at least 2700 years, and it has one of the oldest stories in the world. Its inestimable cultural value is also recognized. The formative process of Etna dates back about 570,000 years ago and in that period the first eruptions began. The most destructive eruption started on 11th March 1669 and ended in mid-July of the same year. It produced lava flows that destroyed and buried dozens of villages and reached the town of Catania on 15th April. Many buildings were destroyed, but it killed few people. The eruption of 1843 began on the 17th of November and ended 11 days later but in that occasion about 36 people died. The eruption of 1928 began in Autumn and ended after 18 days destroying the city of Mascali: rail and road communications were interrupted. The eruption in 1991-1993 was the longest lasting eruption of the recent ones.

Etna’s eruptions are spectacular: watching the lava flow and hearing the noise of the explosions is both frightening and fascinating.

What is the best period of the year to visit Etna? If you love beautiful swowy landscapes, winter is the right season for you; if you love nature and hiking you can enjoy it in spring and summer. But whatever time of year you go, Mt. Etna offers the best views of the entire island.

There have been no worrisome eruptions lately, although there were lava flow and ash emissions that have stopped air traffic and colored houses and streets black. Every time that it happens many people, including me and my family, have to clean up to avoid problems in the area. If they ask me what is like to live near Etna I answer that it is very exciting and pleasant. I love this volcano very much…great spectacle of nature.

Ash and stones from Mt Etna eruption in February
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Autore:

Giuseppe Panebianco

Classe:

II A – Furci Siculo
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