Etna is an alive
creature, dynamic, majestic and
irascible, with which the brontese folks, are used to live with, and to
The history of Bronte has been forever bound to the one of the volcano
that has allowed the town to extend, in some epochs, and has reduce it to
more modest proportions in other periods, without, however, destroying it
Its impressing mass, that tower majestically over the habitat, reminds us
that we are in front of the biggest active Volcano in Europe and one of
the major of the entire planet.
It is, in fact, an enormous and isolated mountain, delimited by the rivers Simeto
and Alcantara; a mountain that, with its majestic height, dominates
half Sicily and offers a spectacle of grandeur, black of petrified lava,
white with snow over the top, green with woods along the slopes.
Rises over a basement of sediment rocks of 1.570
square Km, has a height of 3.350
meters, a circumference of about 250 Km.,
and a diameter of 44 Km.
The Sicilians call it, also Mongibello (union of Latin word "mons"
and the Arab "gibel", that is "mount of mounts").
According to experts, notwithstanding its continuous eruptions,
among the Italian volcanoes is the least dangerous.
Its height, in the last fifty years, has increased, because of its
eruptive activity, of about 60 meters.
From Bronte it offers
its most majestic image, moves, rumbles, gets
angry, erupting rivers of lava, and every time that happens its height
From its craters comes out hurling ash, lapilli, vapor globes that
reach incredible heights (columns over
10.000 meters high and widths of over one hundred kilometers).
Never the less an articulated and profound rapport ties
inhabitants and Etna ("a muntagna",
as it is called here).
More love and veneration than hatred, more religious respect than aversion.
Instead of running away, the local peasants have resisted, and
continued to cultivate along the slopes the orchards, the vineyard,
the pistachio plants and all those fruits that the land fertilized by
the volcanic ashes, has always made peculiar in their quality.
In the silent struggle between the man and "a muntagna"
often the volcano's fury has devastated the territory of Bronte
and, in the past, also the wretched settlements of our ancestors, erasing
for ever from history the first traces of civil organization of our
The Bronte's territory had to put up with all the vicissitudes that come
with the being a volcano to which, in the centuries, has been identified
with in humors and destinies.
Of these destinies, often of destruction, is impregnated its centuries old
history and its economy.
A spectacular eruptive activity of Etna.
The picture was taken few years ago, from the periphery of Bronte
in district in district "Sciarotta". (photo ArchVale)
of the last lava flows that interested the side of Bronte destroying few hectares
of woods. In the foreground, well lit, the Church of San Vito. (photo Currenti)