On the north east coast of Sicily, Etna’s presence is ubiquitous. A black smoking giant, the locals believe it alive, filled with good spirits.
Look one moment and the view is clear, a smattering of snow on the top. Look again, clouds are forming around the top as Etna spits out its warmth. Turn to look once more and now it has disappeared. Drive a bit further, and there it is once more in different light.
Never static, it rises above its inevitable tourist industry, an endless chipping away at its rock faces to make lava stone ashtrays and necklaces.
Yet every now and again it fills the sky with an orange burst of fire, a reminder of its power. The locals sensing an eruption grab blankets, food, wine and leap into their cars. Not in fear, but to get closer for a better view of their favorite good luck talisman.
– Contributed by Samantha Collins, Travel Tales from Italy.