Monte Barca: This small volcanic
cone, opposite to the cemetery, adjacent to state road 121,
few kilometres from Bronte, is of extremely ancient formation.
Protected by mount Colla, has been always
spared from the centenary lava flows that have interested the
Bronte side and because of this remains still intact.
About it, Benedetto Radice says: «It is placed in a deep cone no
more than eight metres from the provincial road built in 1830. Monte Barca is the second most deep Etna’s crater, so called
because is shaped like a boat. Nobody knows the time of his formation; it
has an elliptical base. The two widths in its interior mark the
direction from South to North.
The crater’s basin, made of reddish tuff and notable for fumes of
chlorine and sulphur, reminds the Naples sulphur’s mines.
From this tuff come small slates and little bright iron crystals.
The external mantle of the cone is made of a conglomeration of
plagidasio, angite and olivine fragments between which can be
found some material rich of white iron; the lavas around Catania’s
Fortino and mount Cerna are similar to this tuff.
In Monte Barca there is not a flowing of lava as in other
Strangely enough it is surrounded by sandstone in its base.
About 750 meters downward, over an horizontal plane 400 meters
long and 150 wide, there is a field of muddy tuff erupted mostly
from the same Mount “Barca”; there is also some gypsum.
About the sandy area in front, it is not known if the sand was
erupted by the crater of the nearby Mount “Barca” or from
the Etna’s crater.»
mountain with the agile forms of a Latin ship launched on the high seas;
constant adoration of my early years, when in the clear and serene days,
from the top of your stern or your bow, I consumed the young and ardent
soul drunken to the boundless horizons that I then had to try; (...) Once the old Etna, in order to be at rest, wanted to amuse himself in
another way, but with the same flaming spectacle, his people.
He summoned you, almost by magic, to the bottom of one of his distant
roots, from nothing; he infused part of his powerful breath; I
improvised you a vulcanello in full activity; and then, while you,
proud, showed you to take much pleasure in the joking enterprise,
ordered you to suddenly deflate like a soap bubble, making you absorb
the crater erupting on the sides. [...]»
the book “Terra di Fuoco – Leggende siciliane”, of Giuseppe Cimbali,
Euseo Molino publisher, Roma 1887]
Visit Bronte's historic centre
It is particularly interesting to
walk the little streets and the lanes, narrow and tortuous and
the flights of stairs of Bronte’s historic centre for the
presence of ancient buildings of a simple and pleasant
architecture, remarkable portals made of sculptured lava stone,
aedicules, votive icons and small sculptures placed over lintels
or the arch of houses.