Share story

IT’S FIRE in the night high above the Italian city of Catania, where Mount Etna has been putting on an eruptive show in recent months.

The mountain on Sicily’s east coast is the tallest active volcano in Europe, at about 10,900 feet, and frequently belches red-hot lava. Concrete dams, explosives and ditches have been used at times to steer the lava away from the towns and villages that ring Etna.

Etna has continued to erupt since this November 2013 photo, although more weakly this year — so far. And it continually draws a stream of sightseers, hikers and scientists to its flanks and summit.

You can ride a cable car partway up the volcano, take Jeep tours or hike from where the road up Etna ends (roughly a four-hour, nontechnical trek to the summit for an in-shape hiker). That’s if Etna — whose name is derived from the ancient Greeks and means “I burn” — isn’t spewing too much lava.

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks

Kristin R. Jackson is The Seattle Times NWTraveler editor. Contact her at