Mount Etna, on the island of Sicily, is Europe’s tallest active volcano. Not only that, it’s one of the world’s most active volcanoes and, as of 2013, is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a small wonder, then, that this mountain has shaped much of Sicily’s past and continues to impact life on the island today.
The volcano sits near the eastern coast of Sicily, not far from the major port city of Catania. Eruptions from Mount Etna have been responsible for serious damage to cities and towns lying close to it, including one in 1669 that destroyed the villages that had been built on the mountainside. People continue to inhabit the mountain, however, partly because the rich volcanic soil makes an excellent base for crops. You’ll find not only fruits and vegetables growing on and around Mount Etna, but also grapes - there are many wines that owe their prominence to the volcano.