Because this part of Italy has been settled for millennia, scientists have a very good record of Etna’s violent history.
Historians know etna has been erupting as far back as 1500 BC and geologists believe Etna has been erupting as far back as 500,000 years.
There is also evidence to show the volcano was already active more than two million years ago.
The US space agency NASA, which saw Etna erupt from space in 2000, said: “Among all the world’s volcanoes, Mount Etna has the longest recorded history of eruptions, dating back to 1500 BC.
“Since then, the volcano has erupted about 200 times and has been very active in recent decades.