Uncovering Italy’s Spectacular Volcanoes

Your guide to Italy's volcanic wonders and beyond.
Written By: Andrea Spallanzani
Reviewed by: Rick Orford
How & Why We Created This Article

This article has been written, reviewed, and fact-checked by Rick and I. We live in Italy and travel throughout the country to help you make the best choices for your trip. We wrote this piece to help you have the best trip possible on your next trip to Italy. Portions of this article have been written using assistive AI tools to help with tasks like research, spell-checking, grammar, and translation.

Last Updated March 22, 2024

In this article, you'll learn how:

  • Italy is home to a diverse range of active, dormant, and extinct volcanoes, offering a unique experience for travelers interested in geological phenomena.
  • Visitors can witness the ongoing volcanic activity, explore volcanic landscapes, and learn about the geological history of Italy through guided tours and excursions.
  • Italy's underwater volcanoes add another dimension to the country's volcanic landscape, offering opportunities for diving and exploring unique marine ecosystems.

Italy is known for its rich history, culture, and beautiful scenery, but did you know it’s home to a number of volcanoes? The country is home to many historic sites and luxury brands that have gained worldwide recognition for their contributions to art, architecture, design, and more.

While many people may not be familiar with the fact that Italy is also a volcanically active country–it’s the only European country with active volcanoes in Mainland Europe. 

So, in this article, we will detail volcanos in Italy and their volcanic activity.

Active Volcanoes Located in Italy

VolcanoLocationHeightTypeLast Eruption
Mount Etna37.734°N, 15.004°E3,329 mStrato-volcanoSpring 2022
Stromboli38.789°N, 15.213°E924 mStrato-volcanoOngoing
Mount Vesuvius40.821°N, 14.426°E1,281 mStrato-volcano1944

Mount Etna

italy, sicily, taormina with mount etna in the background
  • Location: 37.734°N, 15.004°
  • Height: 3,329 meters
  • Type of Volcano: Strato-volcano

Not only is Mount Etna the biggest volcano in Europe, but it’s also the most active. It last erupted in the spring of 2022, with eruptions occurring every three to five years. The biggest eruption ever recorded in Sicily, Italy was when Mount Etna erupted in the year 1669.

The mountain is located between the Italian cities of Messina and Catania on Sicily’s east coast. Around 1,200 km2 of surface area and 135 km of perimeter make up Etna.

Additionally, Mount Etna’s primary characteristics include its extensive lava emissions and high levels of explosiveness. There is a lengthy history of potentially deadly eruptions from this volcano. Even so, Mount Etna is a tourist attraction, attracting an estimated 600,000 visitors every year. 

Mount Etna

Ten villages were destroyed by the lava in 1996, and it even got close to Catania. But Mount Etna also has advantages, such as a nice climate and fertile volcanic soils.

Furthermore, the Latin and Greek words for “to burn” are combined in the name’s origin. According to Greek mythology, Typhon, the monster that Zeus destroyed, is buried on this mouth mountain.


Stromboli Volcano Sicily
  • Location: 38.789°N, 15.213°E
  • Height: 924 meters
  • Type of Volcano: Strato-volcano

Situated on Stromboli island in Sicily. Since its continual eruptions began in 1932, Stromboli has been one of the most active volcanoes in the world.

Small lava explosions resembling fireworks that leave light imprints are characteristic of the volcano.

Stromboli can, however, also cause major eruptions with lava flows lasting several hours, as it did twice in the 20th century. This volcano developed out of a small cluster of islands due to its ongoing activity.

Because it is easy to observe its eruption from a great distance, the volcano is known as the “Lighthouse of the Mediterranean.”

Even so, Stromboli still attracts an average of 2,000 visitors per day, as one of the attractions in Sicily.

Mount Vesuvius

Vesuvius from Naples Lungomare
  • Location: 40.821°N, 14.426°E
  • Height: 1,281m
  • Type of Volcano: Strato-volcano

One of the deadliest volcanoes on Earth and also the most famous volcano in Italy, Mount Vesuvius, is located in the Bay of Naples.

Vesuvius has been identified throughout history as the volcano that covered the ancient cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii in volcanic ash in 79 AD, killing over 16,000 people.

This volcano is exceptional because it may erupt in various ways, including explosive eruptions that produce enormous eruption clouds and liquid lava.

Another noteworthy feature is that future eruptions of Mount Vesuvius pose a hazard to the half million or so residents who dwell in the towns and villages surrounding the volcano.

Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius

This volcano’s most recent eruption occurred in 1944. Cycles of eruptive activity culminate in a Plinian eruption.

To have a distant glimpse of the volcanic mountain, travelers who travel to the Pompeii ruins are very interested in Mount Vesuvius. In fact, Pompei attracts an estimated 2.5 million visitors every year, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. To see the enormous crater and the breathtaking perspective of the Gulf of Naples, it is also highly popular to trek to the top of Mount Vesuvius.

Underwater Volcanos in Italy

Seas encircle Italy and has underwater volcanoes in addition to those on land. Here are the submerged volcanoes that are located in this nation.


Large underwater volcano Marsilli rises 3,000 meters above the Tyrrhenian Sea. Between 2100 and 5000 BC, its most recent eruption was recorded.

However, Marsilli is thought to be an active volcano that might erupt and bring forth a tsunami. One of the Aeolian Volcanic Islands is Marsilli.

Isola Ferdinandea

This volcano is situated about 31 nautical miles south of the Sicilian Port of Mazzara del Vallo in the Graham volcanic area. Its summit is 6 meters below sea level and is a particularly well-liked diving location. It appeared after the 1831 Surtseyan eruption.

This volcanic island has repeatedly been washed out and raised above the Mediterranean. The island’s peak is currently 6 meters below sea level.


Even though Palinuro last erupted about 8000 BC, it is still regarded as an active volcano that is seriously in danger of erupting.

This volcano is situated close to the Cilento coast and the Tyrrhenian Sea, 80 km from Stromboli. A complicated magnetic field is connected to Palinuro’s top.

Other Volcanos in Italy

It has already been mentioned that Italy has many volcanic centers. Extinct volcanoes have left behind a wealth of geological features.

  • Monti Iblei
  • Vico Volcano
  • Monte Amiata Volcano
  • Monte Vulture Volcano
  • Colli Albani Volcano
  • The Aeolian Islands
  • Linosa Island

Dormant Volcanos

  • Vulsini – 800 meters (last active 104 BC)
  • Colli Albani – 950 meters (last active 5000 BC)
  • Lipari – 602 meters (last active 729)
  • Larderello – 500 meters (last active 1282)
  • Ischia – 789 meters (last active 1302)
  • Campi Flegrei – 458 meters (last active 1538)
  • Vulcano -500 meters (last active 1890)
  • Pantelleria – 836 meters (last active 1891)
Vulcano Island Sicily

Extinct Volcanos

  • Amiata – 1,738 meters (last active 200,000 BC)
  • Vulsini – 500 meters (last active 164,000 BC)
  • Vico – 123 meters (last active 93,000 BC)
  • Cimini – 1,053 meters (last active 90,000 BC)
  • Pontine Islands – 139 meters ( last active 80,000 BC)
  • Roccamonfina – 1,005 meters (last active 50,000 BC)
  • Vulture – 1,326 meters (last active 40,000 BC)
  • Sabatini – 612 meters (last active 40,000 BC)
  • Alicudi – 675 meters (last active 26,000 BC)


What happens if Campi Flegrei erupts?

Not to scare anyone but according to research, the Campi Flegrei eruption would trigger giant tsunamis, devastate crops, and could take a lot of lives.

How does Italy manage volcanoes?

The Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV) oversees the monitoring and surveillance of active volcanoes in Italy. INGV installs and maintains monitoring networks with advanced instruments around active volcanoes to carry out its mission.

Why does Italy have so many active volcanoes?

Italy’s frequent volcanic activity is mainly due to its proximity to the boundary between the Eurasian and African tectonic plates.

Volcanic Eruptions in Italy

Due to its location in between two tectonic plates, Italy has undergone volcanic eruptions (Eurasian and African). So an eruption may result from one tectonic plate moving below another.

Italy has had seven notable volcanic eruptions in the past 20 years. Data show that while there is no pattern in a volcanic eruption, there is a pattern in their location since they travel in a straight line.

Volcanoes also bring about environmental, economic, and societal changes. For example, dust and smoke are released into the atmosphere when a volcano erupts. Unfortunately, these eruptions have resulted in many fatalities and millions of dollars in damage. And, government officials created emergency preparations to assist the country in being ready in the event of a volcanic eruption.