This marks our final full day of touring Sicily. As our bus approaches the ominous, pulchritudinous shadows of Mount Etna, I cannot help but note that this outing is, allegorically and literally, the climax of our trip. For millennia, Sicilians have derived both divine and monstrous connotations from this volcano, worshipping it through the use of its volcanic rock in much of the area’s architecture, and demonizing it in mythological and literary comparisons to a cyclops or a dramatic, disastrous result of nature. As the soil surrounding the volcano is incredibly fertile, farms have taken up post despite the threat of an eruption, and companies have taken over the mountain to reap all possible rewards from its waves of tourists. In many ways, Etna is one of the only static symbols of Sicily, and one that Sicilians can rely on, while the rest of Sicily’s history is arguably as dynamic as can be. Being at Etna’s summit literally and figuratively took my breath away.