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Europe’s most active volcano put on quite a show in Sicily.

By Meena Thiruvengadam
February 25, 2021
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Mount Etna — Europe's most active volcano and one of Italy's top attractions — has been impressing even seasoned volcanologists with the show it has been putting on in the skies over Sicily.

"The volcano gives no respite. The show is thrilling," Boris Behncke, a volcanologist who monitors Etna for Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, wrote in a blog post on the agency's website.

Zafferana Etnea's Mother Church lit in the shadow of Mount Etna
Zafferana Etnea's Mother Church lit in the shadow of Mount Etna on February 24, 2021 in Catania, Italy.
| Credit: Fabrizio Villa/Getty

Mount Etna erupted three times in three days, at one point, throwing up a 3,200-foot high lava fountain, and at another, creating a "black curtain" of rock fragments. Behncke described feeling gifted with "moments of suspense" as he monitored Etna's activity in recent days. Etna finally erupted in a way "those of us who have worked in this for decades have rarely seen," he wrote.

Lava flowing along the sides of the southern crater of the Etna volcano
Lava flowing along the sides of the southern crater of the Etna volcano on February 24, 2021 in Porto di Riposto, Sicily.
| Credit: GIOVANNI ISOLINO/AFP via Getty

Mount Etna — Italy's largest active volcano — spewed lava for more than a week, putting on a stunning show night after night for Italians prohibited from traveling outside the region because of the coronavirus pandemic. It threw up enough ash and volcanic rocks to close down a nearby airport, and residents in the Italian town of Pedara told the Associated Press that it looked almost as if it was raining rocks one day last week.

Mount Etna's show tapered off on Tuesday night, according to Italy's volcanology institute. According to the AP, there have been no reports of injuries or damage so far.

Meena Thiruvengadam is a Travel + Leisure contributor who has visited 50 countries on six continents and 47 U.S. states. She loves historic plaques, wandering new streets and walking on beaches. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.