Etna - the Highest Active Volcano in Europe.
Height of 3350 meters (11.000 ft) above the sea level, basal circumference of 150 km (93 mls), surface of 1250 sq kms (483 sq mls), 4 active summit craters at the top of the mount and about 300 extinct side crates scattered all over the surface at different heights; this is Etna by numbers: the highest active volcano in Europe and one of the most active in the world, a really awesome monument of the nature famous for the intense volcanic activity with smoke, ash and lava eruptions, almost every year. But don't be afraid, Etna is a gentle giant, a 'big brother', also called 'a muntagna', by the people living there for centuries and centuries (today more than 1.000.000 inhabitants between the city of Catania and the towns and the villages all around Etna). Reduced explosive activity limited only to the craters area and slow lava flows giving enough time to evacuate the villages. Visiting Etna is very exciting, but there is NO risk at all, even in case of eruption, which is anyway perfectly predicted by the scientists of National Institute of Geophisics and Vulcanology that control the volcano. Any new eruption is an amazing natural spectacle which can be easily seen from Taormina, Catania and most of the Etnean villages. While the ancient Greek name Aitna' identifies the fiery nature, the second one Mongibello, of Arabic origin, identifies perfectly the peaceful nature of Etna: Mons-Jabel, the 'mountain of the mountains'; the largest, the highest, the most green, the most fertile mount along all the coasts of Mediterranean sea. Etna is a source of energy and life, an alive natural attraction with a luxuriant green vegetation, bushes and forests, a generous Mother Eart with fruits and products of excellence: oranges, lemons, olives, grapes, pistachios, chestnuts, hazelnuts, apples, cherries, honey... and more. Visitin Etna is also an amazing surprise for eyesight, smell and taste: a variety of colours and landscapes, black rocks, vegetations, flowers, fruits and local products of which wine is the most important and renowned: Etna Rosso, Etna Bianco, Etna Rose', Etna Brut sparkling... and more. Produced by many typical vineyards present all over the territory Etna branded wines are appointed D.O.C. (Denomination of Origin Controlled) or D.O.P. (Denomination of Origin Protected) since 1968; the first ones in Sicily and among the earliest in Italy.
*** Nature Photography Itinerary
Taormina - the Pearl of the Jonian Sea
Charming touristic town on the East Coast of Sicily in front of the Jonian sea, renowned for the high class tourism, art, history, nature, culture, cinema, food and wine, and the unique natural position over the bay of Naxos and in front of Etna; Taormina is one of the most renowned tourist locations of Italy. The historical heritage is at the highest levels with the remains of the ancient Greeks since the VIII century b.C.; particularly the archeological park of Naxos and the Greek-Roman theatre which is the second in Sicily for size, and one of the most important in the world of the ancient Greece. History, art and nature create in Taormina an exotic blend together with cultural events and traditions, offering an unique taste of internationality in a pure Mediterranean atmosphere. Known for the beauty of its coast and the transparency of the sea in the bays of Isola Bella, Mazzaro', Sirens and the beach of Spisone, Taormina offers the widest choice of accommodation in Sicily: from high luxury hotels to simple bread & breakfast or apartments rental. The renowned cuisine is also part of the pleasure to stay in Taormina: from high level restaurants to typical taverns and pizzerias and street food. Walking in Taormina in the day, in the night and at any hour, gives particular sensations and the pleasure to discover unique corners, different day by day, hour by hour. The charming tiny streets and alleys are a pleasure for the eyes with hundreds occasions of suggestive photo shots... and a tempation for the taste with the continuous attractions offered by restaurants, taverns, street food, wine bars, artisanal pastries, ice-cream shops. Taormina is also the starting point for interesting outdoor activities: short or full day excursions to the main natural or historical locations of Sicily and boat trips, snorkeling and diving, paragliding, rafting in the surrounding areas. Last but not least: music & wine bars and discoteques in the charming tiny alleys, and concerts & shows in the magnificent magic atmosphere of the Greek-Roman theatre.
*** Nature and Architecture Photography Itinerary
Etna and Taormina - half day excursion
- Zafferana, typical village @ 600 metres above the sea level
- Honey tasting, product of excellence of Etna
- The lava flow of 1991-93 eruption, @ 700 metres, the largest eruption of XX century - option A
- The big valley "Valle del Bove" with impressive lava flows and vegetation - option B
- Walking on the edge of the extinct Silvestri craters @ 2000 metres
- City centre free walking tour (local guide available on demand)
- Belvedere terrace with view over the bay and the coast
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