Generally, on the slopes of Mount Etna, which rises to 3326, in winter people are skiing. But not this winter, although there is some snow here is above 2000 meters, it is not enough to open the ski-lifts. Even higher there is more snow, but there are no lifts there.
The ski-lifts are by the way also a difficult matter, because Etna periodically gets rid of them from its slopes, recently seriously destroying them during the explosions in 2001 and 2002. Because the eruptions here are quite often, and the volcano is active all the time. As a rule, however, this activity manifests itself in several central craters. But once in a while, the volcano uses old craters or opens new ones on its slopes – and that’s when it often destroys something.
In 2001, lava began to emerge from a relatively flat part of the slope called the Plain of the Lake, as a result of which the (supposedly picturesque) seasonal lake disappeared from the earth’s surface. Now there is, perhaps even more picturesque crater, snowy and covered by interesting ice patterns created by the wind.
A little higher (about 2900 m above sea level) is a place called Torre del Filosofo, where according to accounts Empedokles lived in ancient times. His lifelong ambition was to study the volcano, and apparently ended his life falling into one of the craters. Further observatories were built here at various times. Now there is only a giant field of solidified lava. It is the furthest place where you can walk up the slopes of Etna without a guide – here they also bring lazy but rich tourists with snowcats.
It is also possible to climb the very nice looking Barbagallo Craters (around 2970 m) in the winter scenery, which Etna produced in 2002. The wind was blowing with amazing force, matching only the quality of the views visible from there, including towards the murmuring high craters of Etna..
(with Kasia, February 2020)