Etna: the tallest in Europe

The Etna (Mungibeddu or simply "a Muntagna" in Sicilian) is an active Volcano in the oriental Sicilian coast, between Catania and Messina. It is the highest, active volcano of the European continent and one of the biggest in the word. Its height is variable depends on the eruption, is around 3.340mt asl, its diameter of about 45 km. Once it was called as Mongibello.

It is crossed by the 15th west meridian.

View of Etna
View of Etna

The name Etna could bring back to the pronunciation of the ancient Greek Aitna (Aἴτνα-ας) same name of the city of Catania and Inessa, who derives from the Greek word aitho (burn) or from the Phoenician word attano (furnate).In Roman age Etna was known as Aetna. The Arabian called her the mountain Jabal al-burkān or Jabal Aṭma Ṣiqilliyya (Volcano or Main Montain of Sicily); this name was later changed in Mons Gibel: the two times mountain ( from Latin mons “mount” and from the Arabian Jebel “mount”) just to mean her stateliness. The word Mongibello was used almost nowadays (same aged person call her in this way). According with another theory the name Mongibello cames from Mulciber ("qui ignem mulcet"), ones of the Latin name for the god volcano, useful to stop the destructive force of the Etna. Etna populations, sometimes use slang “a muntagna” simply with the meaning of mountain.

Today the name Mongibello means the Etna summit part; the area of the two central craters, as well as the west-south and the north-west craters. The regular eruption of the mountain, sometimes dramatic, make her very interesting for the classic mythology and also for popular beliefs explaining her behaviour through gods and giants of the Greek and Roman legends.

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