Martedì, 16 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Mount Etna gets UNESCO World Heritage status

English
© ANSA

(By Kate Carlisle)
Rome, June 21 - Despite its frequent rumblings
and occasional lava spill-overs, Sicily's Mount Etna is hot spot
for travellers, wine makers and even skiers who venture up to
the snowy peaks take on the slopes.
Ancient visitors to Sicily saw the 3,329-metre-high
volcano as a phenomenal force of nature, linking it to strength
and even fertility for its rich soils and imposing masculine
similitude.
Both Homer and Virgil wrote about Etna and it is said that
when the Arabs occupied the island, they mixed its snow with
fruit juices, creating what could be considered the ancestor of
our sorbet or "sherbeth".
Thanks to its multiple enchantments and long-documented
history, Mount Etna was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage site
on Friday, making it the fourth approved in the country for its
natural criteria.
At the organization's annual ceremony, held this year in
Phnom Penh, Cambodia, UNESCO said that the active volcano had
"one of the longest documented histories in vulcanology".
Mount Etna's first recorded eruption was documented in
1500 BC.
One of the mountain's most dramatic eruptions in 1669
lasted four months and caused damage to the nearby city of
Catania and town of Nicolosi.
And though its explosions today are rarely deadly, a
massive eruption in 1865 followed by a devastating earthquake
killed more than 70 people near the village of Macchia.
"The almost continuous eruptive activity of Mount Etna
continues to influence volcanology, geophysics and other Earth
science disciplines," UNESCO said.
"The diverse and accessible range of volcanic features
such as summit craters, cinder cones, lava flows and the Valle
de Bove depression have made the site a prime destination for
research and education," the organization said.
Beyond its scientific appeal, Etna's rich volcanic soil
has nurtured agriculture and wine production for centuries.
Dramatic landscapes of the volcano's north face attest to
the area's ancient vine-growing history with gnarled old vines
on dry-stone terraces.
Historic and modern wineries have set up shop on Etna
producing spectacular results.
From 2007 to 2012, the Gambero Rosso Vini d'Italia wine
guide awarded 97 of its top Tre Bicchieri (Three Glasses) awards
to Sicily - 30 of these were bestowed upon wines from Etna.
"This is a significant milestone for Italy," Environment
Minister Andrea Orlando said.
"The UNESCO recognition is an opportunity for our country
to combine environmental protection with the development of the
area, by investing in sustainable development," Orlando said.
Currently Italy is the country that has the largest
overall number of World Heritage sites, with 47 total included
the UNESCO list comprised of cultural and natural attractions.
Other natural heritage sites in Italy include the Aeolian
Islands, Mount St. George and the Dolomites.

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