Monte Etna

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Photo of Monte Etna
Photo uploaded by Olivier Dumon

Monte Etna is the highest active volcano in Europe. Its name, orignially Aitne, comes from the Greek word Aitho, meaning to burn. Etna is a large volcanic complex, located near the east coast of Sicily, just eighteen miles north of the city of Catnia. It is topped by a towering truncated cone, which contains an inner cone and main crater. Lateral eruptions have also formed over 200 subsidiary cones on the sides of the mountain. Etna's first documented eruption was in 1500 BC, since which time hundreds of eruptions have been recorded. Its most recent eruptive activity began on February 4, 1999.   Etna served as a setting for many events in Greek legends. Included among these is the first recorded ascent, that of  Empedocles, a Greek poet and philosopher in the fifth century B.C., who reportedly committed suicide by leaping into the summit crater. The mountain's lower slopes are cultivated with a tremendous variety of fruits, nuts and olives, as the slopes are extremely fertile. These areas are also densely populated. The higher elevations are forested, except for the final 3,000 feet, which are covered in lava, ashes and, through much of the year, snow. The climb to the summit crater is an easy and popular ascent, although it is dangerous and discouraged during periods of volcanic activity.

Elevation (feet): 10,902
Elevation (meters): 3,323
Continent: Europe
Country: Italy
Range/Region: Sicily
Latitude: 37.75
Longitude: 15
Difficulty: Walk up
Best months for climbing: Jun, Jul, Aug
Volcanic status: Active
Most recent eruption: 2005
Year first climbed: First recorded ascent sometime between 490 - 430 B.C.
First successful climber(s): Empedocles (Greek philosopher)
Nearest major airport: Catania, Sicily
Convenient Center: Catania, Sicily

Trip Reports

There are 9 trip reports for Monte Etna.

  • Log #2012 - by Lars Holme on Nov 17, 20043.00 stars
    Walked from Etna Sud(Hotel Corsaro) to summit. Lots of snow, walked on a road up to 2900 masl, then on partially snow/lava up to the highest point. Lots of smoke. Eruption ongoing on the flank, and...
  • Log #2017 - by Mikolaj Orzechowski on Mar 10, 20043.00 stars
    My first three thousand, DURING an eruption. That was amazing. And forbidden :-)
  • Log #2018 - by Dawn M. Harris on Nov 04, 20023.00 stars
    I live on the SE flank of Etna. There hasn't been a day since I moved here in Feb. that I don't stare at her in amazement. I love this mountain and no matter what eruption it may have, or where for...
  • Log #2019 - by Chandra-Luciano Malorni on Aug 05, 20013.00 stars
    The way up to the top is not so hard, but it takes its time. We climbed this Europe's highest volcano in january and so up there you felt nearer to Alaska than to Siciliy, the mountain was full of...
  • Log #2020 - by Dave White on Dec 14, 20003.00 stars
    Neat. Just watch out for the lava flows.
  • Log #2021 - by Luidger Röckrath on May 05, 20003.00 stars
    Access to the summit area is prohibited due to ongoing activity. If you take the cable railway and the four wheel busses (ITL 70.000) you get to about 2900 m, the site of the torre del filosofo hut....
  • Log #2022 - by Lieve verhulst on Oct 02, 19993.00 stars
    Pretty mountain, very easy if you want a minibus will take you pretty much right to the top. But if you are in even a slightly good physical condition, walk it it's worth it.
  • Log #2023 - by Ann Bowker on Nov 29, 19983.00 stars
    see live cam at and my description of our climb at http://www.
  • Log #22558 - by Dr George Carman on May 10, 20183.00 stars

    Not a climb but a bus trip and a geological excursion with Leicester University