Italy (3,350 m) – Site of the Forge of Hephaestus
Mount Etna in Sicily is the largest active volcano in Italy, and in Europe, and one of the largest active volcanoes in the world. It erupts on a regular basis, with descriptions recorded as far back as Roman times. The name Etna is believed to be Phoenician in origin and probably means “Furnace”.
Etna played several roles in Greek mythology. According to legend, in earliest times the god Zeus battled Typhon, the father of all monsters. After several encounters, Zeus finally managed to overcome Typhon but could not slay him. Instead he imprisoned the beast under Mount Etna, where he continuously fumes as he plots to escape. Later, the fiery mountain was appropriated by Hephaestus, the god of smiths, to be used as a divine forge.
Mount Etna is prominently located on the east coast of Siciliy, approximately half-way between the cities of Syracuse and Messina. Although easily accessible, it is a dangerous peak to climb both because of its steep slope as well as from its volcanic unpredictability. It is enjoyed by most visitors at a safe distance.