Natural Hazards

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 29–46 | Cite as

Mascali, Mount Etna Region Sicily: An Example of Fascist Planning During the 1928 Eruption and Its Continuing Legacy

  • David K. Chester
  • Angus M. Duncan
  • Christopher Dibben
  • John E. Guest
  • Philip H. Lister


The 1928 eruption of Etna, Sicily, although the largest such event this century, has not been studied in detail. In this paper the nature of the eruption, the destruction it caused – including the complete devastation of the town of Mascali (pre-eruption population ∼ 2,000) – and emergency responses of the authorities to it are reviewed in the context of fascist politics and planning priorities. It is contended that, although at one level the response to the 1928 eruption was successful, at another fascism merely continued and enhanced a reactive, propitiatory approach to hazard mitigation. We argue that this legacy was not successfully overcome until the middle of the nineteen eighties. Finally contemporary Italian moves towards a more proactive approach to disaster planning, both generally and in the context of Etna, are discussed.

Italy Sicily Volcano Mount Etna 1928 eruption fascism 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • David K. Chester
    • 1
  • Angus M. Duncan
    • 2
  • Christopher Dibben
    • 3
  • John E. Guest
    • 4
  • Philip H. Lister
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolU.K.
  2. 2.Department of GeographyUniversity of LutonLutonU.K.
  3. 3.Department of GeographyUniversity of St Andrew'sScotland
  4. 4.London University ObservatoryLondonU.K.

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