They formed a separate system (the Rete Sicula) until in 1906, like the rest of the railways of Italy, they passed into the hands of the state, with the exception of the line round Mount Etna and the line from Palermo to Corleone.
In the northern half of this coast the lava streams of Mount Etna stand out for a distance of about 20 M.
In April 1906 an eruption of Mount Etna caused the destruction of several villages and much loss of life and damage to property; in appointinga committee to distribute the relief funds the premier refused to include any of the deputies of the devastated districts among its members, and when asked by them for the reason of this omission, he replied, with a frankness more characteristic of the man than politic, that he knew they would prove more solicitous in the distribution of relief for their own electors than for the real sufferers.
The view from the theatre is of exceptional beauty, Mount Etna being clearly seen from the summit to the base on the S.W., while to the N.
The rescue of Catania from fire during an eruption of Mount Etna was later attributed to St Agatha's veil.