What a great show is the spontaneous vegetation of Etna!, Usually everybody thinks about a volcano without vegetation instead is the same volcanic ash that creates a fertile environment for trees and plants and also the right balance of the minerals present in it.
The presence of a microclimate means that at different levels of altitude vegetation changes:
In the summit area of the volcano there’s no vegetation because of the recent lava flows no seed can sprout. Going down around 2500 meters you can meet the saponaia flowers (Saponaria sicula), Sicilian astragalus (Astracantha sicula), tansy (Tanacetum siculum), cerastium (Cerastium tomentosum), senecio (Senecio squalidus), camomile of Etna ( Anthemis aetnensis), Etna rennet (Galium aetnicum), romice (Rumex scutatus) and some moss and lichen.
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Already around 2000 meters (Mount Etna Tours) you can meet, on some slopes, loricat pine, Etna birch and beech and even lower down also chestnut and olive. Together with this vegetation coexists the broom of the Etna that with its yellow flowers creates, during the flowering period, a beautiful chromaticism with the black of the volcanic lava.
In the hilly area of the slopes meet the vineyards of Nerello, from which the Etna DOC wine of the foothills area is produced. On the west side of the volcano, from 600 to 850 meters above sea level, pistachios (Bronte and Adrano) and strawberries (Maletto) thrive, unique for their taste and color due to the typicality of the territory and the microclimate. Another noteworthy production is that of pears of various types and peaches, among which stands out among all the “tabacchiera of Etna”.
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The considerable wealth of the soils has allowed the development of a rich agricultural variety, especially in the north – eastern area of the volcano, compared to other territories, thanks to the particular microclimate that has come to create from the proximity to the Ionian coast: numerous specialties, among such as the Etna red cherry (Comuni Milo, Sant’Alfio, Mascali and Giarre) or nuts of the highest altitude (Municipalities of Sant’Alfio, Milo, Piedimonte Etneo), represent a heritage, not yet fully exploited, on which the protected area of the Etna Park can not do without in the future.