As the name suggests, the line (110 km in length) follows a route which almost encircles the Etna volcano. From its terminal in Catania the line starts off in a westward direction and loops around Etna in a clockwise manner (as seen on the map), eventually reaching its other terminal at the seaside town of Riposto, approximately 28 km to the North-East of Catania.
The original terminal was at Catania Porto, although Catania Central (the mainline station) was the last stop for the trains. In the 1990s, however, the section from there to Catania Borgo (4 km in length) was converted to standard gauge and moved underground for most of its length for use as a new metro (Metropolitana di Catania). The original terminus, the Porto station, was also reinstated. The Circumetnea services, therefore, now terminate at Catania Borgo.
The Metropolitana and the Circumetnea are operated by the same company (the FCE), which has its offices at Catania Borgo.
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