The famous movie “The Beautiful Legend of Sicily” has made people remember a sentence: “If you don’t go to Sicily, it’s like you haven’t been to Italy.” Because here can you find the source of Italy’s beauty! The colorful history of European development has left too many bright signs on this island, allowing people to appreciate the fusion of various cultures following different architectural styles. Sicily has successively experienced the colonization of the Greeks, the rule of the Roman Empire, the Byzantines, the Normans and the Spaniards… It has become a unique and beautiful existence in the Mediterranean under the integration of multinational cultures.
Among the many cities in Sicily, Catania, located on the southeast coast, can be said to be “hidden in a boudoir”. Catania is not prosperous and famous, but it retains the simple flavor of Sicily. This city at the foot of Mount Etna allows you to experience the original and authentic charm of southern Italy! Catania, with courage and splendor, will also give you new surprises when you explore Sicily!
The mystery of Sicily and the enjoyment of the senses are no big secrets. This reputation has spread since the Greeks first discovered it in the eighth century BC, and today the island is one of Italy’s main tourist attractions, with various exquisite holiday villas and snack bars that cannot be found on Google. What about Catania? Most tourists know this place only because it has the busiest airport in Sicily. You can rent a car here to go to other attractions, such as the ancient city of Syracuse and Taormina. However, for those who have time to explore, they can see the true charm of southern Italy.
The Catanians have been entangled in the matter of living in the shadow of this 10,922-foot volcano. Mount Etna is the largest volcano in Europe and one of the most active volcanoes in the world. On the bright side, the lava-rich soil makes the mulberries, peaches, and pistachios produced there taste so good.
But there is another possibility that people have to face up: this city will be destroyed. In 1669, scorching magma broke through the city walls, killing thousands of people, and even the coastline was changed; 24 years later, the strongest earthquake in Italian history razed the city to the ground. The survivors rebuilt it with volcanic stones in a short period of time, with the gorgeous Baroque style we see today; this is why the old town of Catania has architectural consistency that is rare in Italy. , And the incredible brilliant carbon color.
After watching Mount Etna for several days, I decided to have a close contact with it. Coming to the top of the mountain, the volcanic crater was surrounded by smoke clouds with a strong smell of sulfur. For tourists, they are still wandering in the ancient ruins of more than 20 degrees Celsius in the morning, but in the afternoon they are shivering in the deep mountains and old forests, which is really dizzy. However, this is nothing for Catania. Here, heaven and hell are always close at hand.
The name of Mount Etna comes from the Greek Atine, which means “I am burning.” Like other active volcanoes, the height of Mount Etna is constantly changing. The eruption of this volcano is very active. Since 2007, there have been more than 20 eruptions, causing nearly 1 million casualties. The Italian government has established multiple monitoring stations to monitor the state of the volcano. Frequent volcanic eruptions bring extremely fertile soil and a lot of tourism resources.
Due to its high altitude, Mount Etna still has a lot of snow on the top of the mountain. The volcanic ash underground is like a thick layer of slag, and solidified lava can be seen everywhere. Standing on the top of a volcano, you can feel the volcano at your feet trembling slightly, which is a typical volcanic tremor. According to observations by local volcano monitoring station personnel, the volcanic tremor reaches its highest peak at around two o’clock in the afternoon every day.
Bellini Opera House
A corner of the city square
Mount Etna also made a dull noise from time to time, it was the sound of gas ejecting. The heat of the volcano is transmitted to the feet of visitors through the surface, and only the soles of the feet feel warm. On the side wall of the crater, a large round hole with a diameter of about 3 meters can be clearly seen. The shape is very regular, like a hole dug by humans, and gas escapes from time to time. The mountains are full of fumaroles of various sizes, and the sulfur smell is very strong, and light yellow sulfur is often deposited next to the fumaroles.
The vegetation on the hillside is distributed in 3 zones: the lowest zone is below 915 meters above sea level. The soil is very fertile, full of vineyards, olive groves, citrus plantations and orchards for cherries, apples and hazel trees, densely populated; 915～1980 meters above sea level It is the middle zone, where the forests are lush and green, with chestnut, beech, oak, pine and birch trees growing; the highest zone is above 1980 meters above sea level, covered with gravel, stones, volcanic ash and volcanic slag.