Italy has a diverse landscape with many different geographical features and stunning sights and landscapes to enjoy and explore no matter where you are in the country. A little-known fact about Italy is that it is the only European country with active volcanoes. It is also home to a number of dormant and extinct volcanoes. Here is an overview of these fascinating natural wonders in Italy.
Located between Messina and Catania on the eastern side of Sicily is Mount Etna. It is one of the most active volcanoes in the world as it is in an almost constant state of activity. Mount Etna stands at a height of 3,329 meters. According to Greek mythology, the monster Typhon was trapped under Mount Etna by Zeus. This volcano was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in June 2013. Another accolade Mount Etna can boast is that the United Nations have designated this a ‘Decade Volcano’.
Mount Vesuvius is the only active volcano on mainland Europe. This volcano is infamous for its destruction of famous Roman towns, including Herculaneum and Pompeii. At 3,000 meters high and covering an area of 1,190 square kilometers, Mount Vesuvius is both the tallest volcano on mainland Europe and the largest of the three active Italian volcanos. Although it has not erupted since 1944, Vesuvius is often considered the most dangerous of the volcanoes. This is largely because of the threat it poses to the three million people who live in the area and whose lives would be devastated by an eruption.
For the last 2,000 years, Stromboli has been erupting almost continuously, so only Hardcore Italians would want to get up close and personal with this particular volcano. Located in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the north coast of Sicily, Stromboli is an Aeolian Island with a height of 926 meters. The island is nicknamed ‘The Lighthouse of the Mediterranean’, probably because the eruptions can be seen from miles away and it is quite a spectacular sight.
A volcano is classified as dormant if it has not erupted in the last century but has erupted in the last 10,000 years. There are eight of these in Italy. The dormant volcano that most recently erupted was Pantelleria as the last activity recorded was in 1891. The tallest of the dormant volcanoes is Colli Albani which stands at 950 meters. The other dormant volcanoes are Vulcano, Campi Flegrei, Ischia, LArdello, Lipari, and Vulsini.
Extinct volcanoes are ones that have not erupted for over 10,000 years. There are nine Italian extinct volcanoes. Amiata is the volcano that last erupted the longest time ago as it has not been active since 200,000 BC. It is also the highest of the extinct volcanoes at 1,738 meters.
The other extinct volcanoes in Italy are Alicuda, Sabatini, Vulture, Roccamonfina, Pontine Islands, Cimini, Vico, and Vulsini. If you are ever visiting Italy, then it is well worth seeing some of the volcanos. They are an outstanding an intriguing aspect of the Italian landscape and the perfect subject for photographs to commemorate your Italian travels.
- Main Image: Mount Etna [Wikipedia]