TRANSFEERO: Reliable airport transfers worldwide
Book a private transfer at over 1500 airports, stations and ports worldwide

If you have to choose a destination, among the many that Mount Etna offers, this summer do focus on Nicolosi. Not only because this town is the gateway to the best views over Etna’s southern flank, not only for the local beauties, but also because there is the seat of Etna Volcanological Museum. Which is not only a place of culture but also of relaxation and tasting. It is in fact associated with the reality of Volcano House, a catering area that completes the structure in a pleasant way. If you want to get to know our volcano, make your first stop right here.

History of the Museum-Volcano House

The museum, intended as a center that collected artifacts, elements and objects related to Etna and its eruptions, had existed for some time in Nicolosi. But in an informal, unorganized way. The museum that you can visit today opened in 2002 and has expanded and improved considerably since then. It recently added a more “international” name, Volcano House. This makes it even more appealing – in the true sense of the word – to tourists from all over the world. In fact, under the name “Volcano House”, in addition to the exhibition rooms, they also include the dining corner. You can relax and taste good food while listening to the stories of the volcano. Today, with the addition of digital realities, the museum is even more interesting, and captures the attention of visitors of all ages.

museum nic 2
photo by nicolosietna it

The structure of the Museum

Once you enter the museum, you can follow an itinerary that includes two main rooms and some ancillary areas. In the first room there is the documentary material, also provided by the laboratories of the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology. It consists of photos, a mega screen on which the activity of the INGV computers is projected live, other videos regarding the most spectacular eruptions .

The second room is obtained from a 19th century farmhouse located next to the museum – today an integral part of it. Here you will admire samples of lava, volcanic bombs, crystals and plastics models that tell the story of the volcano and of the men who have always inhabited it. In addition to these two rooms, the museum houses a library well-stocked with texts – technical and non-technical – regarding Etna. In the external courtyard, there is the catering corner.

During or after the visit it is also possible to buy typical products of Etna’s territory, including its gastronomy, in the small souvenir shop associated with the structure.

Nicolosi and its museum

After visiting the Museum of Etna-Volcano House and learning everything about lava rock, take a tour of

museum nic 3
photo by Grazia Musumeci

the town of Nicolosi so to understand how this rock is practically used. The lava of Etna and Nicolosi, in fact, are one thing … for better and for worse.

The origins of the town are linked to a monastery built in lava stone in the 14th century, St Nicholas. The monastery itself was destroyed by an eruption in 1536 . The monks moved further downstream to Catania, so to be safe from the volcano. But – like a very bad joke – one century later the Catania monastery was also destroyed by the lava! The town of Nicolosi was partly buried by the lava of the eruption of 1669, which began with a series of craters that opened on a low-altitude lateral fracture. Besides that, the inhabitants have rebuilt the houses and streets in the exact same place, using as building material the very lava rock that had destroyed everything!

The museum is therefore an expression of the total bond between Nicolosi and lava. This link is also evident in the monuments: ruins of the ancient Monastery of St Nicholas (near which today stands the seat of the Etna Park Board), Main Church of the Holy Spirit, Church of St Mary of Grace, the minor churches of Carmel, of St Joseph, of St Anthony alla Sciara. Those craters that caused the destruction of the first nucleus of Nicolosi, today host a fantastic pine forest that serves the locals, and tourists, to relax in the warmest days. The paths that go up the southern flank of Etna, up to Rifugio Sapienza and the cableway station that leads to 2800 meters, are also part of the territory of Nicolosi. It is interesting to follow the “Path of the Queen”, which seems to have been Lady Eleonora of Anjou’s favourite when she went to pray at the ancient monastery.

Useful information for your visit at the museum

The Museum of Etna-Volcano House is open every day – except Tuesdays – from 10 am to 5.30 pm. For contacts, call the number: 348 975 5287. The volcanohouse website is not considered safe and can be a vehicle for digital viruses, so prefer to contact the phone number or the official email instead: [email protected].

To enter you pay a 2 Euro ticket (reduced 1) – except for periodic increases.

From Catania, you get to Nicolosi center via the provincial road SP10. For those arriving from the motorway: from the A18 Messina-Catania exit at San Gregorio, follow the ring road to Gravina. Then exit towards the SP10. From the A19 Palermo-Catania, exit at Gerbini and continue on the state and provincial roads until you take the SP92 for Nicolosi. The reference airport is Fontanarossa Catania.

Autore: Grazia Musumeci

Airport Transfers