Here’s some of what the Lonely Planet – Italy chapter on Sicily has to say about Mt. Etna:
“Dominating the landscape of eastern Sicily and visible from the moon (if you happen to be there), Mt Etna is Europe’s largest vol¬cano and one of the world’s most active. Eruptions occur frequently, both from the four craters at the summit and on the slopes of the volcano, which is littered with fis¬sures and old craters.
The volcano’s most devastating eruptions occurred in 1669 and lasted 122 days. A huge river of lava poured down its southern slope, engulfing a good part of Catania and dramatically altering the landscape.
Considerably more recently, in 2002, lava flows from Mt Etna caused an explosion in Sapienza, which destroyed two buildings in the complex and temporarily wiped out the use of the cable cars. Locals understandably keep a close eye on the smouldering peak.
Since 1987 the volcano and its slopes have been part of a national park, the Parco Naturale dell’Etna, a territory that encom¬passes a fascinatingly varied natural environ¬ment, from the severe almost surreal summit to deserts of lava and alpine forests.”
KAPOORS ON THE ROAD