Etna was known in Roman times as Aetna, that possibly comes from the Greek word aitho (“to burn”).
The Arabs called the mountain Gibel Utlamat (“the mountain of fi re”); this name was later changed into Mons Gibel and subsequently Etna’s current local name Mongibello.
The mountain’s regular and often dramatic eruptions made it a major subject of interest for Classical mythologists and their later successors, who sought to explain its behaviour in terms of the various gods and giants that populated Roman and Greek legends. Aeolus, the king of the winds, was said to have imprisoned the winds in caves below Etna. The giant Typhon was confi ned under Etna, according to the poet Aeschylus, and was the cause of the mountain’s eruptions. Another giant, Enceladus, rebelled against the gods, was killed and was buried under Etna.
Hephaestus or Vulcan, the god of fi re and forge, was said to have had his forge under Etna and drove the fi re-demon Adranus out from the mountain. The Greek underworld, Tartarus, was supposed to be situated beneath Etna.
Villa del Casale
Villa del Casale is an old Roman Residence of Hunting. It was built between the late 3rd century BC and the early 4th century AD. The most remarkable feature of the villa is the fl oor, mainly consisting of mosaics which fortunately endured in excellent condition.
In 1997, Villa Romana del Casale was declared from Unesco inalienable heritage of Mankind, not only because it is an extraordinary and important Roman remain, dated at the end of the Roman Empire, but also because it represents the complex system of economic, social and cultural relations of the Mediterranean basin. It includes 48 rooms. Almost in every room it is possible to see the splendid mosaics made almost certainly by north African workers. Surely the best known picture is the one of the girls wearing Bikinis. It is situated in one of the rooms to the South of the peristyle.
Villa Romana del Casale
Open Everyday from 8.00 to 17.30 (winter) from 8.00 to 18.30 (summer)
Admission 2 Euros From 18 to 25 years old
4 Euros From 26
The naturalistic, historical, and artistic heritage of the area is of considerable importance. In a context characterized by harsh mountains facing the Sicilian sea, the human signs still represent the evidence of a millenary presence (Prehistory) which in some cases has been handed down in current activities. The territory is scattered with several religious buildings, monasteries, hermitages and churches, often isolated on the top of the mountains. Along the watercourses you will find abandoned mills which, together with the old farmsteads (the so-called “masserie”) often built on the more ancient ruins of Roman farmhouses, witness the ability of a culture to live in symbiosis with nature. In the Madonie there are the most ancient rocks of Sicily, dating back to the Triassic period. The several fossils of lamellibranchs, algae, and sponges found in the calcareous areas of the mountain chain are an evidence of it.