Situated on the east coast of Sicily, Mount Etna is the most active volcano in Europe with 2700 years of eruptive activity. The volcano is one of the most monitored due to its consistent volcanic eruptions throughout the centuries; the latest one being in 2023. Despite being one of the most interesting and studied volcanos, the truth is there is still a lot of fascination around Etna, whether being of a literary or scientific kind; that, as well as its importance for earth science researchers, made it a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Many are the legends and mysteries surrounding Mount Etna, some of which were told by well-known poets such as Hesiod, Pindar, and Virgilio. The latter, in the third book of the Aeneid, mentioned how the giant Enceladus was defeated by the goddess Athena who trapped him under the Mount Etna; in other legends, the mountain is either the workshop of Hephaestus and the Cyclops, making Zeus’ thunderbolts, or Tartarus, the world of the deceased, in Greek mythology.