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Today it is called the Museum of Etna and is naturally dedicated to the volcano that dominates the territory to which it belongs. But also to other volcanoes. For many people, though, the museum of Viagrande in the district of Catania is still the “Museum of Lava” because this name has much more charm. And also because it better describes the panorama of volcanic elements, not only from Etna, that this place exposes. More eclectic and less “glam” than the Etna Museum in Nicolosi, the one in Viagrande manages to involve adults and children with the full fascination of science.

Why the Museum of Lava was born

The Museum of Lava of Viagrande was born from the need to speak in a simple way about our volcano, to explain it to the little ones but also to the curious and uninformed adults. It was founded in collaboration with the Institute of Volcanology, with the University of Catania, the Civil Protection Board and with cultural associations (one above all “Friends of the Earth”). They all decided to open this educational center at the beginning of the 2000s. Since then the museum has evolved and grown richer and richer. A visit to this place, and to the surrounding area, is a happy choice especially for your children.

The museum and its attractions

museum of lava VIAGRANDE 02
PHOTO BY claireinsicily com

Divided into different environments, completed by the most modern technologies, the museum suggests a itinerary that goes from the knowledge of Etna to that of volcanoes in general. It also informs about the Earth in general and its inhabitants.

Halls such as that of the Plastic Model of Etna, or the Volcanic Grotto, or the one dedicated to Geyser and Sulfur allow you to understand how our territory is made. And besides, what can be found on a volcanic territory in general. It continues with sensory experiences (Room of Touch), physical and emotional experiences (the Simulation of an Earthquake), visual (3D Cinema). But you can also explore the various layers of the planet Earth, its prehistoric nature (Dinosaurs), and the traditions closest to us (ancient Etna craft jobs).

At the Lava Museum you can admire statues, products created with lapilli and ash, you can taste products of the earth grown thanks to the fertile soil of the volcano. Finally, interactive workshops and excursions into nature are also organized for schools, along the paths of the real volcano.

In the surroundings of the Museum

In the surroundings of the Museum of Lava there is the splendid town of Viagrande, dominated by the panorama of Mount Etna itself, between woods and parks and ancient extinct craters. The most famous of them is Monte Serra, which today is a very popular suburban park.

The crater, now covered with dense vegetation, is crossed by steps and paths that allow you to walk, play sports, picnic or simply rest in the greenery. The park is also home to the Butterfly House, a magical place where you can literally move among thousands of wonderful butterflies. One of the slopes of the crater has been equipped with small ski tracks on which, during the coldest winters, snow accumulates.

Viagrande town is famous for its beautiful churches, but also for its local park – located in the historic center. But what matters most is that Viagrande is only a few kilometers away from Zafferana Etnea, the town closest to the Etna’s nature trails. From the Museum of Lava to authentic lava, then, it’s just a matter of a few more minutes by car!

How to get there and other information

To get to Viargrande: the nearest airport is Fontanarossa in Catania. From Catania take the ring road that leads to the Paesi Etnei (San Gregorio) exit. Then follow the signs for Aci Bonaccorsi and Viagrande.

The museum is located outside the town, on the road that climbs towards Etna (SP8- Via Garibaldi to Monterosso and Zafferana. At the junction with Via Dietro Serra, take this one and you will easily find the museum).

For information on the museum’s opening hours and contacts, the page to view is THIS ONE.

Autore: Grazia Musumeci

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