Etna rises on the eastern coast of Sicily, within the territory of the province of Catania and is crossed by the 15th meridian east, which takes its name from it. It occupies an area of 1265 km², with a diameter of over 40 kilometers and a perimeter of about 135 km.
Image of Etna and of the territory in which it insists seen by satellite (source NASA 2005). The volcano is classified among those defined a shield which is flanked by a stratovolcano; its height varies over time due to its eruptions which cause it to rise or fall. In 1900 its height reached 3,274 m. s.l.m. and in 1950 the 3,326 m. In 1978 the altitude of 3,345 m was reached and in 1981 that of 3,350 m. Since the mid-1980s the height has progressively decreased: 3,340 m in 1986, 3,329 m in 1999.
The most recent measurements, carried out in July 2018 by two independent teams with very high resolution GPS, revealed that the current height of the ‘Etna is 3.326 m. Its surface is characterized by a rich variety of environments that alternates urban landscapes, thick woods that preserve different botanical species endemic to desolate areas covered by magmatic rock and periodically subjected to snow at the highest altitudes. it has a rather complex structure due to the formation, over time, of numerous volcanic buildings which, however, in many cases later collapsed and were replaced, side by side or covered entirely by new eruptive centers.
At least 300 cones and eruptive fractures are recognizable in the “modern phase” of the volcano. The area is also at moderate seismic risk due also to the tremor of the volcano.