Mount Etna, or Etna is an active stratovolcano on the east coast of Sicily, Italy, in the Metropolitan City of Catania, between the cities of Messina and Catania. It lies above the convergent plate margin between the African Plate and the Eurasian Plate. It is the highest active volcano in Europe outside the Caucasus. It is currently 3,326 m (10,912 ft) high, though this varies with summit eruptions. It is the highest peak in Italy south of the Alps. Etna covers an area of 1,190 km2 (459 sq mi) with a basal circumference of 140 km (87 miles). This makes it by far the largest of the three active volcanoes in Italy, being about two and a half times the height of the next largest, Mount Vesuvius. Only Mount Teide on Tenerife in the Canary Islands surpasses it in the whole of the European–North-African region west of the Black Sea.
Mount Etna is here because the tectonic plate of Europe (carrying mainland Italy and Sicily) is colliding with and overriding the African plate. The African plate is peeling away from the surface and descending deep into the earth, where water in porous rock and hydrated minerals is forced out. This causes the overlying (European) rock to melt and rise, until it collects in a pool of magma near the surface. The drop in pressure enables gas to bubble out of the magma, until the mixture of gas and magma eventually erupts through the surface. This has been happening continually on Mount Etna for some 500,000 years, with multiple layers of lava and ash building up into a mighty stratovolcano. The whole area is a Nature Reserve, and is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The area is a ski resort in winter. Come dressed for the cold even in summer.