Mount Etna, with its 3.340 meters, is the highest volcano in Europe and one of the most active in the world. On 21st June 2013, it became a UNESCO world heritage site and it is one of the most visited places in south Italy.
Its name derives from the Greek Aitna (in ancient Greek the verb “aitho” means “to burn”), but is has many other names: Mongibello (from the Arab “big mountain”), “Idda”, ‘A Muntagna.
In 1987 the Park of Etna was established in order to defend, protect and enhance its natural area. This territory is diverse and characterized by woods and lava fields with no vegetation, created by several eruptions over centuries.
The volcanic desert extends from 2.000 m until the summit craters, where hostile conditions don’t allow vegetation to grow. On the contrary, from 1.000 m to 2.000 m woods dominate: beech woods, chestnut groves, pine forests, oak and birch forests.
Thanks to a trail network that develops from the slops to the summit area, Mount Etna offers to hikers and excursionists a series of itineraries to discover places of great natural beauty.
For those who want to visit the volcano and look closely to the craters and the eruptions, there are two start points for excursions: the area in front of the refuge Sapienza on the south side and Piano Provenzana on the north side.
From the refuge Sapienza (1.920 m), it is possible to reach the summit craters by cable car or by minibus with a professional guide; in the second case, the price is about 50 euros per person. Those who are well trained and don’t want to pay money can do the same path walking.
From Piano Provenzana (1.810 m), it is possible to go up to the summit craters by minibus with a professional guide or walking. In winter, ski and snowboard lovers can enjoy ski runs and facilities (ski lift and chair lift) at the refuge Sapienza and in Piano Provenzana.