The wide base of Mt. Etna, c.93 mi (150 km) in circumference, is encircled by a railroad. The fertile lower slopes are densely populated agricultural areas. Up to 1,600 ft (488 m) the vegetation is subtropical, yielding citrus fruit, bananas, and figs; between 1,600 and 4,300 ft (488–1,311 m) is a temperate zone, with vineyards and various fruit trees; from there to c.7,000 ft (2,130 m) are chestnut, birch, and pine woods; above, there is a desolate waste of lava and ashes. Near the top there is snow most of the year. There is an observatory at 9,650 ft (2,941 m). A motor road from Nicolosi, NW of Catania, to the 6,170-ft (1,881-m) level was completed in 1935.
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