A journey through the historical eruptions of Mount Etna

Etna with its eruptions fascinates and intimidates with its majestic presence on the eastern coast of Sicily.

With a long and rich history of eruptions dating back millennia, this imposing volcano has shaped the surrounding landscape and influenced the lives of people living in its vicinity.

In this article, we will explore some of the most significant eruptions of Mount Etna. From ancient times to the present day, highlighting its historical impact and the ongoing importance of scientific monitoring for the safety of surrounding communities.


The earliest eruptions of Mount Etna date back thousands of years, and although detailed written documentation is limited, we know that these eruptions have shaped the landscape and the lives of ancient populations inhabiting the region.

1669 eruption

One of Mount Etna’s most famous eruptions occurred in 1669 when the entire surrounding area, including the city of Catania, was devastated by the volcano’s fury. During this eruption, a new eruptive vent called Monti Rossi formed, spewing lava and ash, destroying everything in its path.

1693 eruption

The eruption of 1693 coincided with the devastating earthquake of the Val di Noto, causing even greater devastation. The cities of eastern Sicily were severely affected by the damage caused by both the earthquake and the volcanic eruption, highlighting the vulnerability of these communities to natural events.

1928-1929 eruptions

Another noteworthy eruption occurred between 1928 and 1929, characterized by the persistence and intensity of volcanic activity. Authorities had to take extraordinary measures to protect people and property from lava flows threatening surrounding communities.

2001 eruption

In 2001, Mount Etna once again demonstrated its power with an eruption that posed safety concerns for residents and visitors to the area. Although there were no loss of human lives, the event highlighted the need for ongoing monitoring of the volcanic situation.

2013 eruption  

Spectacular for its lava fountains and ash emissions, the 2013 eruption attracted worldwide media attention, once again highlighting the unpredictable and fascinating nature of Mount Etna.

2021 eruption

Throughout 2021, Mount Etna experienced several eruptions, including explosive episodes that temporarily closed Catania airport due to volcanic ash. These events underscored the importance of effective safety measures to protect the population from potential volcanic threats.

2023-2024 eruptions

The most recent eruptions have involved explosive episodes and lava flows that have impacted surrounding areas, emphasizing the need for continuous scientific monitoring to understand and mitigate risks to local communities.


Etna remains a fascinating and unpredictable natural phenomenon. Its eruptive activity has shaped the history and lives of the people who live nearby.

There is still much to learn to ensure the safety of surrounding communities.

Ongoing monitoring and scientific efforts will continue to be essential for better understanding this volcano.