One of the most active volcanoes in the world, Mount Etna, erupted on Wednesday night. From 2am to 6am, the eruptive activity of the volcano sharply increased as a pit crater opened on the eastern side of the southeastern crater, followed by rumbles and lava fountains.
As volcanic ashes fell over Catania and the villages surrounding the volcano, the Catania airport was closed down at dawn, but may open again during the course of Thursday as the volcano is apparently settling.
The peloton of the Giro d'Italia is due to arrive on Mount Etna on Sunday afternoon, with a summit finish scheduled for stage nine.
"Sunday's stage is not at risk. The stretch in question is only that of the last four miles on Etna,” said Giro director Angelo Zomegnan in a statement. “But on-site teams are already working to clear the road. We are calm.”