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Walking and wine tasting on Mount Etna

We’re bringing the wonder of travel back in to your home again with a hike up Mount Etna –  one of Sicily’s most iconic symbols. Mount Etna dominates the East Coast and without doubt offers the best views of the entire island. The views can be particularly beautiful at sunset, when the colours of the landscape are even more stunning

It is mostly a moderate hike but can be challenging in places (rocky terrain and hilly lava fields) so make sure you wear your good walking boots! We have packed a picnic with some Arancini and homemade Sicilian lemonade … We’ve checked the conditions (it is an active volcano!) and we’re ready to embark on an unforgettable journey and an array of dramatic vistas
We  begin at the car park at Rifugio Sapienza (Sapienza mountain hut)on the south side of the mountain – from here we can either walk, take a cable car or 4 x 4 or even cycle to the summit. The walk to the crater from Rifugio Sapienza takes about four hours.  Our journey takes in  swathes of woods and vineyards, verdant orchards, ash fields, volcanic caves, lunar landscapes and ultimately the Sartorius Mounts. (Smouldering craters created during a lava flow in 1865.)  From here we can take in the views of the Sicilian coast which are simply awe inspiring! This walk is for many an bucket list item and it’s easy to appreciate why….This is the ideal spot to take some photos and tuck into our lunch
Sicilys’ food and wine is legendary and many prestigious wines come from the slopes of  mount Etna. The rich volcanic soil is particularly fertile for vineyards…..Our hike can be rewarded with a visit to a local winery.  Let’s stop at Barone di Villagrande – It is an internationally acclaimed vineyard run by the same family since the 17th century.  Located in Milo at the foot of mount Etna, on the eastern slope  overlooking Taormina and the Ionian Sea. This peaceful spot is ideal for us to taste some local products. www.villagrande.it
The family has recently opened the doors of its fine estate to those who embrace  good wine, hearty food and tranquility. We will experience a tour of the cellars which date back to 1850 accompanied by stories of 300 years of wine-making –  The tour is rounded off by a tasting of the estates acclaimed wines – We are sitting by the infinity pool overlooking the vineyards and Villa Barrone’s famous DOC Etna Superiore has been poured. Let’s appreciate the color, swirl and watch the legs, now  take in the aromas  – the Etna Bianco gives a glimpse of dry and straight sensations smoothened by oral and white fruits notes.  Upon tasting the first sip is fresh and straight, enveloping at the same time and last but not least savor. The Etna white would be perfect with shellfish and raw fish, also with stronger flavours such as semi- aged cheese. …
All this talk of food is making us hungry again – perhaps we should stay for dinner at Villa Barone’s Osteria which is famous across the island for its hearty food….the pistachio flavored pasta looks appealing followed by pork tenderloin ….
Imagine staying in one of the four rooms at Villagrande…. -tastefully decorated with a homely atmosphere and offer splendid views across the vines down to the coast.
Pull up a chair – we may be here a while… all that hiking was thirsty work . We’ve lots of wines to taste, stories to hear and vistas to admire ….it’s going to be hard to tear ourselves away from this pace…. I wonder where our next journey will take us?

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