There is a Greek legend that states that the workroom of Efeso, god of fire, lies on the island of Sicily, located in a flaming pit of lava and brimstone. The god, patron of craftsmen and blacksmiths, works far below the depths of the earth, forging his metals in his fiery cave, and at times expelling the hot molten liquid from the walls of his palace. This palace can still be seen today, and is, in fact, the active volcano of Etna, affectionately called Mongibella by natives, near Catania.
This colossal giant is 3346 meters above sea level, and although it harbors sweltering heat below, is also subject to snow in the winter (during which resorts make use of the white slopes for skiing). In addition, during the past decades, Etna has become a destination location, and situated at the foothills are cute hotels and typical restaurants, dishing up specialty mushrooms served alongside the smooth red wine, Etna Rosso. And then there are the few times a year when there are a lucky (or unlucky) few diners who get to enjoy an eruption.
Yes, an eruption. Etna is an active volcano and last weekend it was in full force. Normal activities of Etna are the Strombolian type, with intermittent explosions expelling clouds of ashes and rocks, called bombe, or bombs, and long lava fountains flowing from the source. These lava fountains can reach 100 yards in length and are amazing to behold (definitely bucket list-worthy), but can also create problems for the airport as well as to the natives of the town, who are left to deal with the clean up of ash spread throughout their houses and building.
Eruptions happen regularly, and although in January there were several, two weekends ago held a large one that made headlines. Announced by low-intensity earthquakes, the event’s lava began flowing not from the central crater, but from small several openings below. These streams of molten liquid, so large and prominent that they were visible from Piazza Duomo in Catania’s city center, were accompanied by burst of lava expelled into the night sky, panting the sky in breathtaking red, oranges, and yellows.
Have you ever seen the Volcano Etna? Were you able to snap a picture? Leave a comment with your experience and share your picture with us!
A Rambunctious Etna Lights the Sicilian Sky by Select Italy
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