The names of the craters of Etna


Where do all the crater names come from?

Etna, the mighty volcano that dominates the horizon of Sicily, has numerous craters. It represents a living monument to the force of nature and the thousand-year history that has shaped the surrounding region.

But behind every ridge and valley of its steep profile lies a world of ancient and significant names, which tell stories of myths, legends and traditions that are intertwined with the geology of the volcano itself.

The complex morphology of Etna and its craters

With its numerous craters dotting its surface, Etna offers a unique and changing spectacle. A complex morphology characterized by numerous craters, which may vary over time due to eruptive activity and geomorphological processes. 
But where do all these names that characterize its craters come from? To fully understand the meaning behind these names, it is essential to immerse yourself in the geology of the volcano.

The craters

Among the most significant craters of Etna, we find the Southeast Crater, the Northeast Crater, the Bocca Nuova Crater, and the famous Voragine Crater. But in addition to these well-known names, there are many other minor craters that contribute to the complexity of the volcanic panorama.

Some of them are:

  • Nicanore Crater
  • Levante Crater
  • Crater of Trifoglietto
  • Crater of Roccapiemonte
  • Crater of Pizzi Deneri
  • Crater of Monti Silvestri
  • Crater of Monte Frumento Supino
  • Crater of Monte Simone
  • Crater of Monte Gemellaro
  • Crater of Monte Pilato
  • Montagnola
  • Crater of Montagnola Vecchia
  • Crater of Monti Sartorius

A journey through mythology and history

Before delving into the etymology of crater names, it is essential to understand the geological formation of Etna. This volcano, located on the Italian island of Sicily, has been active for millennia and has formed its complex structure through eruptions and volcanic activity. The craters, the eruptive vents through which the magma emerges, are distinctive features of Etna and testify to its continuous activity.

The names of the craters of Etna are not simple geographical labels; they are doors to ancient worlds of myths and legends. 

Take for example the Bocca Nuova Crater, whose name could be a reference to the mythical creation of Hephaestus, the god of fire. 

The Crater of Monte Frumento Supino could tell stories of ancient agricultural practices that have shaped the region.
The main crater of Etna, known as “Central Crater” or “Voragine”, takes its name from the Latin word “vorago”, which means “chasm” or “deep chasm”.

Cultural influences

But it is not only ancient legends that shape the names of the craters of Etna; Sicilian and Italian culture has also left its mark. 
Names like Monte Barbagallo may be related to local heroes or historical events that have left a lasting imprint on the earth and in people’s memories.

Each crater on Etna is a piece in the complex mosaic of its history and geology. As you explore the majesty of this active volcano, be guided by the names that adorn it and immerse yourself in the stories they tell. Because behind every name, there’s a whole world to discover.