Mount Etna, 3350 metres tall, known for its lava flows that periodically erupt from the crater, is a must-see destination for those visiting Sicily, not to mention that has been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Set up in 1987, Etna National Park protects the breath-taking landscape surrounding the most active volcano in Europe. It offers relax, amusement and attractive itineraries to those who love the outdoors, ranging from woods, paths, unique landscapes, typical products and historic centres of the nearby municipalities to visit.
Zafferana Etnea is located about 600 metres above sea level, on the eastern slopes of Mount Etna. Its artistic and cultural heritage is immersed in greenery, representing the ideal destination for hiking lovers.
Zafferana is well known for its annual Ottobrata, a festival taking place every Sunday in October, where it is possible to enjoy the characteristic flavours and the artisanal productions of Sicily as well as artistic exhibitions and shows.
The beautiful Baroque historic centre is accompanied by a charming natural landscape. Indeed, it leads to the characteristic marine village of Santa Maria della Scala, up to the foot of Timpa, a big lava step full of vegetation which overlooks the breath-taking lava coast.
In February, “the most beautiful carnival of Sicily” takes place, with its famous paper mache floats decked with flowers that parade through the streets in a whirlwind of sounds and colours.
Acitrezza and Acicastello
Acitrezza is a small suburb of the municipality of AciCastello, an ancient fishing village. It is known to be the famous land of Malavoglia by Verga, photographed in the masterpiece film “La terra trema” (“the Earth trembles”) by Visconti, shot with local non-professional actors.
The village of Acitrezza overlooks the Ionian Sea and it is dominated by the sea stacks of the Cyclops. Legend has it that Polyphemus threw these eight basaltic and colourful rocks to Ulysses when he escaped.
A little further, Aci Castello fascinates with its majestic Norman Castle dating back to the XI century. This city was built on a big cliff-side ridge of basaltic lava making it look like a ship run aground on the square below.
It is represented by the statue of “Liotro” in the lovely Piazza Duomo and has countless artistic, cultural and gastronomic points giving evidence of the heritage from the Ancient Greece and the Roman, Byzantine, Arabian, Norman, Swabian, Angevin, Aragonese period.
After the earthquake of 1693, the city was rebuilt in a beautiful Baroque style, which has been designated a UNESCO Heritage site. Each year, the Festival of Saint Agatha represents a moment of great importance and traditions, when thousands of visitors gather to follow the sacred statue along a stage path running through the main streets of the city.
Among the most characteristic places in Catania, there is the fish market, with its colours, voices and odours, and the market in Piazza Carla Alberto, also known as Fera ‘o Luni. Finally, Catania is a top destination for young people looking for some nightlife.
Giardini Naxos and the Alcantara Gorges
Thanks to its sea front, Giardini Naxos offers unforgettable walks and beautiful days to the sea lovers who will definitely appreciate the golden sandy beaches immersed in the heart of the sea.
A few miles from here, the colourful Alcantara Gorges rise up between the municipalities of Castiglione di Sicilia and Motta Camastra. The canyon can reach a depth of 50 metres and presents relaxing paths towards slopes along the crystal clear waters where it is possible to admire the internal sides of the basaltic walls.
Mostly running on a molten bed, the Alcantara River creates evocative vertical walls, unusual natural sculptures with different and elegant shapes.
Taormina and Isola Bella
The small medieval village is one of the most important touristic centre of Sicily, known for its natural landscape, its charming paved alleys and its historic monuments.
Taormina lies on a terrace overlooking the sea and Mount Etna, while the ancient Greek theatre hosts artistic and cultural events of international importance, which attract thousands of visitors each year.
North of Taormina coast, the small enchanting island of Isola Bella shows an unspoilt nature, crystal clear sea and one of the most beautiful beaches of the area.
Siracusa and Ortigia
Siracusa is a historic city full of interesting natural paths, such as the Neapolis Archaeological Park, the Gymnasium and the Roman Amphitheatre, the Greek Theatre, Euryal Castle, the Altar of Hieron II and the Ear of Dionysius.
In its most ancient part, there is the Island of Ortigia, designated an UNESCO Heritage site, which contains the architectural evidence of the dominations that occurred one after the other in the city.