There are several advantages to living near Mt. Etna, Sicily, including fertile soil, warm weather, beaches, wine and food, according to Sicily Travel Portal. The history of Catania, just 16 miles from the volcano, goes back to 750 B.C. The tourist industry is vibrant as hundreds of thousands of people visit Europe's largest volcano each year, sometimes to enjoy the ski slopes when there is snow.
Years of volcanic eruptions left behind layers of fertile soil that helps grow citrus fruit, grapes and vegetables. The BBC reports one farmer grew asparagus on the slopes of Mt. Etna during the volcano's activity in early 2000. Fruits are thoroughly cleaned before consumption or juicing so consumers don't ingest any volcanic ash. After one 3-month eruption of Mt. Etna, as much as 75 percent of crops in the immediate vicinity of the volcano were lost.
The island of Sicily is home to approximately 5 million people and features abundant shopping and food, plus quality transportation and healthcare. Businesses that cater to tourists and sightseers in the volcano's vicinity make a good living. Winters are relatively warm, with temperatures averaging 55 F during the rainy season. Coastal areas have housing built especially for retirees who live on the island, as life close to the volcano is more relaxed.