Adventure in the Shadow of Mount Etna
They call her Mamma Etna. To the inhabitants of the eastern part of Sicily, the stillactive volcano is a neighbour they sometimes fear. Nevertheless, they enjoy living on the slopes strewn with black rocks.
Etna attracts tourists to Sicily, and they are then served by the likes of Marco Tomasello. “On the one hand, the locals fear Etna a little, they respect her, but on the other hand they love her. One cannot live on Sicily and not love Etna,” Marco says. The 39-year old adventurer enjoys surfing, skiing, and mountain biking. For the latter hobby, Etna and its surroundings are an ideal spot.
When it rains, it pours and torrents of water run down the roads. Drivers must also be attentive for dogs, which sometimes ignore traffic and just decide to cross the road.
The Sicilians have a style all their own. No problems distress them, they accompany even the calmest of discussions with vigorous gestures, and they also have a rather laid-back approach regarding traffic.
That means a reliable car is of great benefit here. And if it takes in stride off-road driving in the hills, that car also can be a welcome companion for our guide.
Marco was born here. Even though he often travels the world in pursuit of his adventurous pastimes, he always likes to come back to his native island. “For some it is just a rocky landscape, but I always find something that keeps my interest,” he says, describing his relationship to his native island. It always recharges him with natural energy, Marco adds.
Many people certainly imagine Sicily as a sun-soaked place that is ideal for summer pastimes by the sea. But Sicily also has mountains that rise from the coasts to the interior. For example, there is smoke rising from Etna’s crater that is situated at 3,329 metres above sea level. The weather in the mountains is ever-changing and treacherous.
“The weather around Etna is really crazy. It can change very quickly,” says the experienced guide. When there is fog, it is heavy fog.