Home 9 Blog 9 Experience Mount Etna live – a breathtaking natural spectacle!
current eruption of Mount Etna

Experience Mount Etna live – a breathtaking natural spectacle!

Since 13.5.2022, the south-eastern crater has been active again. At the foot of the cone, on its northern side, a fissure has opened. A lava flow has been pouring into the Valle del Bove, the huge valley on the eastern side of Etna.
This is a subterminal eruption, i.e. an eruption of a main crater, but not at the very top (terminal eruption), but in the immediate vicinity.

Last night we were therefore able to experience Mount Etna live and enjoy this natural spectacle.

Meeting point was at 16:30 at the Rifugio Citelli on the north side of Etna. From this side you can best observe the current eruption.
Fortunately, at this time of day it is no longer as hot as during the day.
At the Rifugio we bought provisions (a panino and also 1.5 litres of water per person).

Ascent through the birch forest

First we walked up through a forest. There are endemic birches growing here, that is, a special kind of birch found only on Mount Etna.

The first stop for explanations was at a round structure made of stones. This “hut” was once covered with straw and was built for protection by shepherds who tended their sheep and goats here. They can be found all over Etna.

We continued uphill and downhill through the birch forest. It was pleasantly cool in the shade of the trees, so the climb was not difficult.

After just under an hour, we reached the Serracozzo Grotto. This cave is one of around 190 lava tunnels that exist or are known to exist on Mount Etna. There are probably many, many more lava tunnels, but we haven’t discovered them yet.
Now we need our helmets and headlamps to explore the cave. At the beginning, the cave is several metres high and daylight enters through the hole in the ceiling. After that, it gets lower and darker and our guide shows us what special formations there are to discover here.

Serracozzo Grotto

Then we continued uphill. The higher we get, the smaller the birch trees become. We also see large green cushions with small, inconspicuous flowers all over the slope. They look cosy, but they have sharp thorns!

The tour is planned in such a way that you do the whole ascent during daylight. This is easier and so we could still enjoy the view all the way to the sea and recognise the different geological formations of Etna and learn something about them.

View of the current eruption of Mount Etna

We reached the edge of the Valle del Bove while it was still daylight. The view was overwhelming: this huge valley gapes on the eastern side of Mount Etna, the walls of the valley drop vertically down to 1000 metres in places.

The valley floor is a sea of solidified, black lava and a river of lava flows through the centre of it, the current eruption of the south-eastern crater. You can’t see the red colour of the lava in daylight, only the smoke from the lava flow indicates the activity. It is hard to believe that this valley was a green paradise until a few decades ago. In the meantime, the lava has covered everything.

Experience Mount Etna live: a natural phenomenon that gets under your skin!

At the edge of the valley we climbed even higher. We kept the lava flow in view all the time. Suddenly we see the first small patch of red. As we continue walking and it gets darker and darker, more and more red appears.

At about 2200 metres we sat down and ate our panino. Afterwards, the guide handed out pasta di mandorla, a sweet Sicilian speciality.

The sky is now dark. The south-eastern crater stands out only slightly against the night sky. Behind it we can see the central crater, formerly the only main crater of Etna.
The lava rivers are now bright red. They branch out several times, lava chunks come loose and roll down into the valley. At the bottom of the valley, where it becomes flatter, the red lava flow stops, the lava comes to a halt here and thus cools down.

Lava flow from the current eruption of Etna

Etna’s lava is about 1080 degrees when it reaches the surface. At 800 degrees, it becomes solid and black. So even if you see solid, black lava on Etna, you should never touch it when it is still fresh!

Descent

Around 10 p.m. we made our way back. Now we need our headlamps again.
We walk away from the edge of the valley. The soft volcanic sand makes it easy to go down. We pass a crater and 2 vents from the 1928 eruption.

After a good hour we arrived back at the car park.

We will certainly remember this evening for a long time!

 

Do you want to experience Mount Etna live?

Then come with us! Contact us and we will inform you about the current situation on Mount Etna and whether an eruption is currently taking place.

Eruption Live Tour

Unforgettable and moving: glowing red lava fountains and lava flows in the dark night

Chat on WhatsApp!
Scan the code