Mount Etna, Italy

Mount Etna in Sicily has erupted again – these are the consequences for tourism.

It’s raining fire and ash: The volcano Etna in Sicily, Italy, has erupted again in spectacular fashion. The latest volcanic eruption caused the airport of Catania to stop its operations today, Monday. The reason: the runway was contaminated with volcanic ash and therefore had to be closed, according to the airport’s statement. During the morning, it was therefore not possible for flights to take off or land. The airport was already closed for several days in July due to a fire.

In recent months, Mount Etna, located in the east of the island, has erupted repeatedly. People living near the mountain, which is over 3,300 metres high, are not normally threatened by the eruptions. The region around the volcano is known as a nature park and attracts many tourists. Since 2013, the area has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Mount Etna, Europe’s highest active volcano at 3,320 metres, is located on the east coast of Sicily and has erupted many times throughout history. One of the most famous eruptions took place in 122 BC and caused severe tephra eruptions in the southeast, including Catania.

Etna volcano and the 1971 eruption

The lava flows from the 1971 eruption threatened villages and destroyed orchards and vineyards, and despite the risks, more than 25% of Sicily’s population lives on the slopes of the volcano. The reason: the fertile volcanic soil supports agriculture, and almost three quarters of the island’s crops are grown here. Many legends exist about the volcano, including the claim that it was the workshop of Hephaestus and the Cyclops.

The volcano has been active almost continuously for the last ten years until 2023, and its dangerous ash clouds, often visible even from space, can cripple aircraft engines.

Tourists visiting Etna should be aware of dangers such as ash clouds and lava flows and follow the advice of local authorities. It is also advisable to wear appropriate clothing and footwear as the terrain can be rough. Hiking on the volcano is popular, but precautions are necessary to safely enjoy the wonders of this remarkable volcano.

Image on top: Shawn Appel via Unsplash