This is definitely the most interesting route after the eruptions of 2001 and 2002 that upset the southern slope of Mount Etna.
|DEPARTURE / RESTORED PLACE||Aitne Office (inside Terrazza dell’Etna Restaurant)|
|DEPARTURE HOUR||Meeting at 9:30 AM, departure at 10:15 AM.|
|RESTORED HOUR||Approximately at 4:15 PM.|
|IMPORTANT||The excursion is forbidden to the cardiac and asthmatic|
|RECOMMENDED EQUIPMENT||Due to strong winds from the west we recommended the use of a windproof jacket in Gore-Tex, a pair of glasses to protect your eyes from sudden gusts of wind and of course a pair of high mountain boots (short boots/shoes are unsuitable as they will allow the lavic sand to enter).|
The starting point of the hike is the large square at Rifugio Sapienza on the southern side of Etna. The initial climb is done by cable car and 4 × 4 trucks up to an altitude of 2900m to an area called Torre del Filosofo (The Philosopher’s Tower). From there we hike uphill for about 90 mins until we arrive at the edge of probably the most impressive crater – the Bocca Nuova (at 3250m), which first opened in 1968.
As we circle the Bocca Nuova opening we find ourselves on the edge of the central crater and from there we have a short but steep climb to the North Eastern crater which was formed in 1911 and is considered to be the real summit of Mount Etna (at 3340m).
From the top we can enjoy a beautiful 360 ° view and, weather permitting, we might be able to see the Aeolian islands, to the north of Sicily. From there we begin the easy but rather steep descent down through the coarse lavic sand into the volcanic amphitheater of Valle del Bove (Bove Valley), a spectacular 8km long and 4km wide caldera, until we reach the up to return to the mountain station at 2500 m altitude, descent by cable car.
Vertical gain: 400m. Elevation downhill: 800m.
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