The first stop on our tour is the Valle del Bove, a large basin located on the Eastern slope of the volcano Etna, inside the protected area of Etna regional Park.
As we ascend the 1979 old lava stream by way of a winding dirt road, we reach Mount Fontana’s (1300 meters) panoramic point, where one can admire the majesty of this valley and immediately upstream, the stately southeast crater.
Our tour continues with a short walk to some of the side craters, the Sartorius Mountains (1700 meters above sea level), formed in the year 1865 and characterized by seven small, aligned eruptive cones (or "buttonholes"). This area holds great geological and botanical treasures, and our tour winds along clearings rich in endemic species, large volcanic “bombs” and woodlands dominated by birch trees (Betula Aetnensis). Halfway down from the top of one of the craters, one can enjoy a breathtaking view of the Ionian coast, from Riposto to Taormina, the Calabrian coast, the North-East Crater (3350 meters above sea level), the impressive dark lava formations of 2002 and the eruptive mouths (2000 meters above sea level), near the tourist resort of Piano Provenzana.
Later, driving up along the Mareneve road we will reach Piano Provenzana (1800 meters above sea level), a ski resort, theater of the great eruption of 2002. After enjoying an excellent espresso, we will take a short walk to visit the ruins of the hotel Le Betulle destroyed by a molten lava flow.
Corruccio’s cave. Continuing our excursion we will reach the Ragabo pine forest where hidden among pines and brooms, we will discover the cave of Corruccio (1350 meters above sea level) a cave formed by flowing lava.
Lunch in a Farmhouse
Traveling through one of the wine roads of Sicily and crossing large expanses of vineyards (Etna D.O.C.), we will arrive at Farmhouse. This is the ideal place to enjoy relaxing moments surrounded by naturewhile sampling local cuisine and excellent wines. In fact the wines are complemented by uniquely local delicacies.
Castiglione di Sicilia Visit the historic center of Castiglione di Sicilia, a medieval village perched on a hill overlooking the Alcantara valley. The tour includes a walk to the Belvedere of the Castello di Lauria (of Norman-Swabian origin dating back to the twelfth century and built on the highest cliff of the medieval village).
In the afternoon we will discover a unique canyon comprised of basaltic lava (the “Alcantara” Gorges) and shaped by the waters of the Alcantara river. The Alcantara's vertical cliffs reach 30 meters in height and its structures have been forged by high intensity geological and geothermal events. In prehistoric times, a river flowed here over clay sediments until a massive volcanic eruption channeled magma into the river bed forming the current canyons.
After this stop, we end our memorable day and return to town.