Land of fire

Eruption of 1669:

The first signals of the great eruption began in the evening of 8th March 1669: a series of earthquakes, mild at first then more pronounced, until they become very strong on the third day.
Simultaneously, between roars and “horrible tremors,” a deep rift opened the ground from Nicolosi to the extreme summit of the volcano; a length of 14 km. Soon the rift became theater in many places of furious explosions, deafening detonations and projections of columns of ash and fiery stones.
At the bottom of this terrible fissure blood red lava began to flow in such abundance to give the impression of a river of iron.

Eruption of 1886:

The lava threatened Nicolosi, stopping a few hundred metres before the town, in the place where cardinal Dusmet had brought the veil of St. Agatha, patron saint of Catania, in a devout and touching procession. On the site where the miracle happened stands a votive chapel.

Eruption of 1892:

The eruption occurred on the southern side of the Montagnola (altitude 1.900 m) giving rise to the formation of the Monti Silvestri.

Eruption of 1910:

Emerged nearby the Monti Silvestri, the flow almost buried the village of Borrello near Belpasso (altitude 700 m).

Eruption of 1928:

The eruption of the 2nd November 1928, despite of short duration (the flow slowed down on November 12th and stopped on November 20th), may be ranked among the most disastrous of the Etna. It, in fact, devastated 770 hectares of cultivated land, forests and citrus groves and 550 buildings (almost the entire town of Mascali situated near the sea).

Eruption of 1971:

The eruption of 1971, whose duration was of 69 days, occurred in two stages: during the first one (April 4th – May 12th) the lava flowed from 3.000 m to 2.200 m on the southern slope of Etna, destroying the second section of the cableway and the Volcanological Observatory; the second one was characterized by the opening of a mouth at 1.840 m on the eastern side, which lava streams threatened some villages as Fornazzo and S. Alfio, stopping at about 7 km from the sea.

Eruption of 1981:

On the northern slope the lava flow coated, in a few days, fertile land (forests and orchards) and reached the outskirts of the town of Randazzo, stopping in the bed of the river Alcantara. In addition to the damage caused to crops, the flows cut off the national road Randazzo-Linguaglossa and the Circumetnea railway Catania-Riposto.

Eruptions of 1983 and 1985:

The eruptions have involved the southern side and caused heavy damage to the tourist resort of Etna South (Nicolosi), even if they didn’t affect residential areas.
The flows of both eruptions destroyed the modern cableway (made by the company Agudio) and skiing facilities, as well as the provincial road 92 Nicolosi-Rifugio Sapienza. To mention that during the eruption of 1983 for the first time vulcanological technicians made an attempt to “divert the lava flow” with explosives.

Eruption of 1991-1993:

Very long eruption (471 days) that involved the southeastern side, threatening and reaching, with the most advanced lava front, the town of Zafferana Etnea. This eruption was characterized by the formation of many ephemeral effusive mouths in the Valle del Bove, which allowed the lava flows to reach lower altitudes.

Eruption of 2001:

This eruption, also on the southern slope of the volcano, was as devastating as the one in 1983. Cableway and skiing facilities destroyed and the provincial road Rifugio Sapienza-Zafferana Etnea interrupted by the lava flow near the square of the Monti Silvestri.

Eruption of 2002:

This eruption, which involved both the southern and the northern slope, was characterized by the formation of two eruptive systems: the southern one, whose lava flows covered the ones of the eruption of 2001 and the northern one, whose flows destoyed in only a few days the tourist facilities of Etna North (Piano Provenzana), pride of the town of Linguaglossa.