Located on the Italian island of Sicily, Mount Etna is one of the most famous volcanoes in the world due to the fact that it frequently erupts and has a large number of eruption styles.
The bleak lava wilderness around the summit of Etna is one of the most memorable landscapes Italy has to offer. The volcano’s height is constantly shifting, depending on whether eruptions are constructive or destructive, and over the last century it has ranged from 3263m to the present estimate of 3340m. Whatever its exact height, Etna is a substantial mountain, one of the world’s biggest active volcanoes, and on a clear day it can be seen from well over half of Sicily. Some of its eruptions have been disastrous: in 1169, 1329 and 1381 the lava reached the sea and in 1669 Catania was wrecked and its castle surrounded by molten rock.
The Circumetnea railway line has been repeatedly ruptured by lava flows: nine people were killed on the edge of the main crater in 1979 and in 2001 military helicopters were called in to water-bomb blazing fires. This unpredictability means that it is no longer possible to get close to the main crater. An eruption in 1971 destroyed the observatory supposed to give warning of just such an event, and the volcano has been in an almost continual state of eruption since 1998, the most recent being in late 2002 when the resort of Piano Provenzana on the northern side was engulfed with lava.
There are several approaches to the volcano. If you have a car, you can enjoy some of the best scenery on the north side of the volcano. On public transport, you’ll just see Etna from the southern side, though this does at least get you pretty near the summit. There are also many Etna tours :))
However you go, at whatever time of year, take warm clothes, good shoes or boots and glasses to keep the flying grit out of your eyes.
Granita and brioche for breakfast is an unmistakably Sicilian experience, which no visitor should miss the chance to enjoy.
Granita, a semi-frozen, flavored mixture similar to sorbet, is a Sicilian creation that pre-dates the Romans and can be traced back to the Arab rule of Sicily. Originally it was made by mixing the snow from Mt. Etna (Mt. Nero’s namesake) with fruit juice or sometimes rosewater. Eventually it was discovered that mixing sea salt with the snow created a refrigerant with which the granita could be frozen; this allowed the snow to be removed as an actual ingredient and the recipe changed to its current one. Now it is made with water rather than snow, flavorings are added and then the mixture is frozen by surrounding it with ice and salt or, more recently, by placing it in the freezer.
It can be flavored with an endless variety of fruits, flowers, nuts, chocolate, or espresso and is sometimes served con panna, with whipped cream.
Traditionally, granita is eaten with fresh bread (pane fresco) or with the famous brioscia siciliana, the Sicilian version of broiche. Brioscia is a yeasty sweet bread made with eggs and milk and is somewhat similar to a criossant.
I know all of you who stay with us come here with the main idea of visiting Taormina… But I would not swap my stay in Giardini Naxos town for any other city like Catania or Taormina !
I love it’s peaceful atmosphere, safety of wandering around the harbour evening time, familiar faces in the groceries, bakery, café shops, restaurants or during the walks along coast – yes, it feels like home!!! :)))
Giardini-Naxos is the place to be. Naxos was the first Greek settling in Sicily, founded in 735 BC. It is a bustling little coastal town, featuring one of the most beautiful bays of the island, with white sand and a wonderful view of Taormina. Giardini-Naxos is a sought after holiday resort in Sicily, not only because it is just a stone’s throw away from Taormina and because of it’s fantastic beach, but also for the great views, the bars, cafés, restaurants, clubs, beach parties and its nightlife. Not to speak of the fact that hotel rates are much lower than in Taormina.
The coastline is almost 4 km long and there are several beaches: the big fine sandy one in the bay of Naxos, some small rocky bays with pebbly beaches and another long beach in the hotel zone Recanati. Some of them are for free, while others are equipped with umbrellas, sun beds, showers, cabins and water sport facilities. At these lidos you will always find a restaurant and bar, selling ice cream, chilled drinks and something to eat