Etna, also known as ‘a Muntagna (The Mountain) in Sicilian, is the highest volcano in Europe and one of the world’s most active. Etna’s eruptions occur both at the summit, where there are currently four craters, as well as on its slopes at heights just a few hundred metres above sea level.
The four craters at the summit are: Voragine and Bocca Nuova, which were formed inside the Central Crater in 1945 and 1968 respectively; the Northeast Crater which has existed since 1911 and is currently the highest point on Etna at 3,330 metres (10,925 ft); and finally the Southeast Crater that was formed in 1971 and that lately has been the most active of the four craters.
This configuration differs greatly from that of about a century ago, when Etna’s summit consisted of only the central crater, which goes to show the great dynamism of the volcano.
The Cavanera Etnea Resort & Wine Experience and the Firriato vineyards are located on the North East slope, at an altitude between 600 and 900 metres above sea level—this, in conjunction with the volcanic and sandy features of the soil, gives life to a unique microclimate at this latitude. The vineyards of Contrada Verzella are on large, sloping terraces that were constructed by labourers to obtain use of the most inaccessible areas of land on Mount Etna. These are the best areas of land for attaining high quality grapes and they are “hosted” on a lava flow from 1556 which has unique soil characteristics. The extreme infancy of the land makes it rich in elements such as iron, silica, aluminium, manganese and magnesium. The land is deep and has well-draining skeletal soil. All these factors give life to a real, true volcanic chemical makeup that represents an exceptional work of nature aiding the production of grapes that taste of the essence of Etna.