In 1669, Mount Etna killed nearly 17,000 people, destroyed much of the city of Catania, wiped away 14 towns and villages and left around 27,000 people homeless, according to the History Channel. Etna lies on top of an active fault between the African plate and the Ionian microplate.
Located near the east coast of the island of Sicily, this volcano is the largest active volcano in Italy. It also holds the record for the longest continuous eruption in the region. The mountain is approximately 10,900 feet tall and 93 miles in circumference. It has a large number of fissures and vents that often produce slow-moving flows that threaten agriculture, utilities and transportation.
Mount Etna has a long history of eruptions. The very first eruption was traced all the way back to 425 B.C. As of 2014, the mountain has nearly continuous eruptive activity located near the summit craters and in the Valle del Bove. These continuous eruptions rarely cause a threat to humans.
Many theories exist as to why Mount Etna is active. The main reason being that it rests on the subduction boundary. In spite of the eruptions, many locals refer to Mount Etna as "the beautiful mountain".