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Ravioli stuffed with ricotta cheese

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Sicily East Cost & Etna Volcano
Travel options on the isle of Sicily include a number of different starting points and possible routes, with each region on the island offering their own intimate treasures.

Taormina is one of the most visited spots with the Greek Amphitheater, whose construction was cut out of the hillside by the Greeks, remodeled by the Romans and, fragmented by the Arabs.
Catania the walls of the city are made of lava and a wonder to look at, but in the end they seem arbitrary and ineffective - the evidence of which can be seen in the ossified lava flows that still dot the streets a surreal purple color. The architecture is that of a traditional baroque city, beautiful and ornate. The fact is, the city had better appear fabulous - it took most of the 18th century to reconstruct the place.
Mount Etna is also a an importatnt Sicilian highlights and it is an active volcano located on the east cost of Sicily, Italy. It is the largest volcano in Europe, reaching a height of approximately 3,326m (10,910 ft) above sea level. Etna covers an area of 1190 sq km (460 sq miles), which the base circumference of about 140km. This makes it the largest active volcano in Italy.  

The ancient Greeks believed it to be the home of Vulcan, the god of fire - to them, Mount Etna erupting merely meant Vulcan was forging weapons for Mars, the god of war. 

The fertile volcanic soil supports extensive agriculture. Vineyards and orchards spread across the lower slopes of the mountain and the broad Plain of Catania to the south side of Sicily. In this side there are a multitude of vineyards and olive groves. As you climb higher, the lowlands evolve into dense woods sheltering a surprisingly large number of animal species that call the mountainside home, until you are left at the third tier of the mountain, a spartan wasteland of historic lava flows and volcanic ash. Dotted with snow most of the year, some of the lava is dated at 300,000 years old.

Etna Volcano Points of Interest:
-The River & the Alcantara Gorges
-Etna Ascent to the TOP
 

The River & The Alcantara Gorges: The charm, the suggestion, the beauty of its several "Gole", famous all over the world. About 50 km of fluvial environment with unique and unusual naturalistic aspects. Particular intense geological and geothermic events have determined the structure of the current basalts. It seems that in the prehistorical period a river ran over clayey sediments; then great volcanic eruptions canalized in the riverbed a fluid magma which sank in the most clayey places, forming the current basaltic colonnades. The apotheosis of these spectacular natural sculptures can be found in the quarters Larderia in the Town of Motta Camastra. Looking from above the famous Gola dell'Alcantara-Alcantara Gorges, it is possible to suppose the contemporary fracture of the soil in the geothermic period. The scene of the Gole (also those of Francavilla di Sicilia in the quarter Passerella and Castiglione di Sicilia in the quarter Mitogio) has on the tourists from all over the world a great charm.

Ascent to the TOP: a climb up the volcano can be approached from the south or the north, both routes offering different views and contrasting qualities. The route from Nicolosi to Rifugio Sapienza (Etna South) is through a barren, black and desert-like environment when compared to the lushly green section up via Piano Provenzana (Etna North).

Ascent From Rifugio Sapienza (Etna south) - approx 1.900 m. during good weather, you can pay for a trip on a 4-wheel-drive vehicle + cable car (48€ A/R) about 800m nearer the top. In bad weather, you can walk if you are experienced and prepared for freezing weather.

There are various ways of approaching the southern slopes of the volcano, which is the bleaker side, where concentrations of black lava form a lunar-like landscape. All along the edge runs a ring of little towns, where dark lava stone has been largely used to pave streets, to ornament the doorways and windows of the houses, to fashion awesome black masks with exaggerated menace and to articulate the lines of the churches.

Ascent from the south side – On arrival to Rifugio Sapienza at approx 1900 m, we will find the Funivia dell'Etna-Etna cable car ride. The transport service of the cableway is functional year round, offering you the breathtaking sensation of Mt. Etna, the tallest volcano in Europe. The cable-car begins at 1900 m above sea level on Mt. Etna, then arrives at Montagnola, which is 2,500 m. to a position from which it is possible to access to the ski posts in winter and the crater excursions all year long. From here, the guided excursions by coach commence, going to the crater summits of the volcano from March until November, while acting as skier transport for the remaining months of the year, snow permitting!

(Details) - The Cableway Station has a cable-car which leaves from the height of 1910 m. above sea level.
We have two different way to enjoy this excursion:

-Cable-Car only-max duration 2 hours from Rifugio Sapienza area (1900 m) travel up to 2500 m. On arrival you can rest or walk around on your own.
In this case the round trip cable-car ticket costs eur 27,00 per person.
- Etna package-max duration 3 hours (included of round trip Etna cable-car, WD4x4-coach/jeep, Etna Alpine Guide) from Rifugio Sapienza area (1900 m) travel up with cable-car to 2500 m. From here you will meet the Etna Alpine Guide and the WD4x4 to reach 2920m and enjoy also a guided walking around.
In this case the Etna package costs eur 51,00 per person.
 

WE RECOMMEND THE FOLLOWING SHORE EXCURSIONS:
from Messina port:

-full day Etna South with optional light lunch at local winery-farmhouse

-full day Etna South & Taormina

from Giardini Naxos-Taormina port:

-full day Etna South with optional light lunch at local winery-farmhouse & Taormina

-half day Etna South

from Catania port:

-full day Etna South with optional light lunch at local winery-farmhouse

-half day Etna South

Ascent From Piano Provenzana (Etna north) by walking to arrive on the summit Crater. This is a beautiful tour because it's possible to admire forests and lava sceneries.

ETNA PARK - PIANO PROVENZANA (Linguaglossa): Mount Etna does not represent a great attraction exclusively for the presence of its eruptions. It’s also a wonderful natural park with evocative landscapes. The are forests green of the vineyards and beautiful walking paths for excursions on Etna. It’s easy to walk in the park and fell the nature rinasance into the destructive scenery of the past eruptions hear voices of animals and enjoy the peace. The vegetation of the Etna-North is subject to continuous changes due to the several eruptions that have changed its landscapes. At lower altitudes there nut forests apple forests and chestnut trees; At 2000 meters there are the faggio and the birch; between the 2500 meters and the 3000 meters there is the volcanic desert.

The village of Linguaglossa is the best base for excursions on the north side of Etna. Its name, literally translating as “tongue” both in Italian (lingua) and in Greek (glossa), refers, according to an intriguing hypothesis, to its hot position on the slopes of the volcano, many times invaded by its lava. It was supposedly founded by survivors of Naxos as apparently attest some Greek relics unearthed by the Ficheri creek. In the central piazza is the Mother Church dedicated to the Madonna delle Grazie. Its façade combines lava and sand stone. Inside it has three naves adorned with two beautiful paintings attributed to Olivo Sozzi and a 1700’s carved wooden choir where are illustrated scenes from the life of Jesus Christ.

Linguaglossa is within easy reach of the A18 Catania-Messina motorway, exiting at the Fiumefreddo junction and taking the S.S. 120 for circa 11 km in the direction of Randazzo.

 

From Linguaglossa you access Piano Provenzana. Piano Provenzana is the main ski resort on Etna and it’s the center for excursions and walks on Etna’s northern side.

From here we go up to 2,800 meters altitude with STAR-off-road vehicles (excursion duration 2 hours) following a track laced with vast, suggestive extents of lava and black lava sand along the chasms which opened during the eruption of 2002. At the height it is possible to admire this extraordinary panorama that only Mt Etna can offer. From the foot of Mt. Etna you can admire that splendid mountain rangers of: the Peloritani, the Nebrodi and those of Madonie, the perimeters of which are surrounded by the Jonica and Tirrenica Coasts, from the Siracusian Coasts to Calabria and from Taormina to the Aeolie Isles. Here the scenery of Mt. Etna offers one of the most breathtaking views in all the world! It is possible to observe, in the context of a typical moonlit landscape, the numeros fuming chasms caused by the eruptions dating from 1923 to 2002 and the lava flows from the eruptions from 1956 to that of 2002. At the height of 2,800 meters, you will found a vast panoramic view of the plain called "Piano delle Concazze", which is dominated by the Northern Crater, where on the track of land called "Pizzi Deneri there is the Volcanic Observatory. On a clery day, from this point it is possible to apreciate the Leone and Bove Valleys below. The Bove Valley -- a black and desolate chasm (5km/3mi wide) surrounded on three sides by rock walls 600- 1,200m/1,980-3,960ft high -- extends from north to south a full 8 Km, and from east to west 5 Km. From Piano delle Concazze, the excursion continues to the summit, up to the authorized area permited by local authorities.

WE RECOMMEND THE FOLLOWING SHORE EXCURSIONS:
from Messina port:
-full day Etna North with optional light lunch at local winery-farmhouse & Alcantara Gorges
-full day Etna North & Taormina
from Giardini Naxos-Taormina port:
-full day Etna North with optional light lunch at local winery-farmhouse & Taormina

-full day Etna North in private jeep ride with light lunch at winery-farmhouse
-full day Etna North with optional light lunch at local winery-farmhouse & Alcantara Gorges
-half day Etna North
from Catania port:
-full day Taormina & Etna North with optional light lunch at local winery-farmhouse
-half day Etna South

USEFUL INFORMATION:
-Etna Volcano General Information
-Understand
-Equipment

The Charm and the Beauty of the Several Gorges, Famous All Over the World Sounds, Perfumes, and Colors around the Big Volcano.

Etna Volcano (Etna Natural Park) is beautiful not only for its eruptions and for its lava flows but also for the unique environment surrounding it, rich in sounds, perfumes, and colors. An enchanting landscape protected by a nature park you cannot miss the opportunity to visit if you are in Sicily. The Park extends from the peak of the volcano to the towns around it.


Understand:
The mountain has an amazing volcanic landscape, with solidifed "rivers" of lava. It is used for skiing in winter, so be prepared for the cold at this altitude, even in summer. Even in good weather in summer, sometimes the top of the mountain is covered in cloud, especially during the afternoon, obscuring the wonderful views. We recommend to visit the Etna Volcano during the morning.

 

Equipment: Whether aiming for high or low altitudes, it is important to remember that termperatures can plummet even here in Sicily. It is therefore advisable to carry a thick sweater, a wind-cheater and appropriate footwear (preferably hiking boots suitable for walking through snow higher up). Those arriving without suitable attire can, however, hire jackets and boots locally (subject to availability). It is also advisable to have sun glasses and sun screen to hand for the sunlight can be dazzling when reflected off the snow and the ultra-violet can be deceptively powerful in the clear mountain air.

 

 

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  � Etna Volcano
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