The Travel Tart
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Mount Etna Sicily – Don’t Visit When Erupting

Mount Etna Sicily – Earthquake Central!

Mount Etna, in Sicily. It’s a potential touristic indulgence for the natural wonders of erupting volcanos.  And Mount Etna erupted during the only time I went to visit my relatives in Sicily.

Hmm, I seem to have a nasty habit of visiting disaster zones – such as Kosovo.

The eruption I witnessed occurred in 2002.

Mount Etna Eruption Photos

Here is a picture I took of Mount Etna spewing it’s guts up from the nearby town of Giarre-Riposto, not far from the main centre of Catania.

Mount Etna

The name of Giarre-Riposto is derived from the word giare, which means jars.  The village is conveniently situated at the eastern base of Mount Etna and the Mediterranean, probably the grumpiest volcano in the universe.

At the time, Mount Etna was inactive for three years, until it decided putting on a spectacular show just for me.  Etna had obviously been waiting for me to discover my Sicilian roots before it decided to make millions of other Sicilians nervous for the first time since 1999.

Etna slowly filled the sky with its poisonous ash, gradually changing the sky from light blue to dark grey.  This phenomena looked like an ominous sign, but I’d not sighted the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse bursting through Etna’s cone to ride down the rivers of previous lava flows.

It looked like the end of the world was beginning right here, right now.

The night before I left, Etna dumped the proverbial load of ash on Giarre-Riposto, covering the cars and streets in dusty black powder.  The following morning, old women busily swept the fine black powder off their footpaths and into the now black gutters.

Here are some photos:


Mount Etna 3

I was amazed at this sight as I kicked up black dust walking along the footpath, breathing this respirable crap into my lungs that made my breathing organs resemble those of an underground coal miner or a pack-a-day smoker.

So I highly recommend NOT to visit Mount Etna when it is erupting.

You can see more about Mount Etna in this DVD.  If you want to know how to survive a volcano eruption, then check out The Ultimate Survival Skills Guide.

Other things to do in Italy after watching Mount Etna erupt – visit the mummies of Venzone or watch some crappy Italian Television.

About Anthony The Travel Tart

The Travel Tart writes about the funny, offbeat and weird aspects of world travel today. Travel wasn't meant to be taken too seriously! Check out ways to say hi below or sign up for his silly newsletter!

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  1. August 24, 2009    

    Amazing, isnt it? My family is in Reggio Calabria..and we often have tons of volcanic ash in the house just from the winds carrying it over. We also have the lava rocks on the shore that faces Sicily.
    .-= Margaret´s last blog ..Rick Steves: Amalfi Coast, Italy: A Cliff Top Drive =-.

  2. Jade Jade
    August 30, 2009    

    I think you went at the best time. I would love to have seen the volcano erupting.

  3. October 29, 2009    

    too right, it wouldve been awsome

  4. October 29, 2009    

    VOLCANOES are cool as to wach just seen 1 on the web lol.

  5. December 9, 2009    

    Good advice Anthony. After all, volcanoes have a nasty habit of exploding, discharging liquid rock, ash, poisonous gasses, red hot clouds of embers, and generally doing things that kill people. I think we’re much better off watching volcanoes erupt on a national geographic film from the safety of the sofa. It baffles me that so many people live so close to active volcanoes, its a catastrophe just waiting to happen. I know that Naples constantly stages evacuations of the city as preparation for Vesuvius blowing her top, but they do think its going to be an eruption of epic proportions, but I guess there is no convincing some people 😉

  6. May 7, 2013    

    Great advice – don’t visit an erupting volanco

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