Sicily boasts many delightful out-of-the-way places, magnificent vistas and captivating scenery.
One such region, evoking beauty and stirring emotions is Mount Etna, in the north-east of the island. With each volcanic eruption, the lie of the land changes shape, transformed into little hollows, deep gorges and new valleys; from afar, especially when it is blanketed in snow, and with its smoking cone, the imposing silhouette of the volcano is an indescribably thrilling sight. The craters, ashes, caves and the Valley of the Bove, almost in direct contrast with the gardens, vineyards, olive-groves, woods and ice-houses, transform the area around the volcano into a magical region, an environmental mosaic of rare beauty.
Etna national park and the north-eastern slopes leading to the Pineta Ragabo and the Linguaglossa district, bestow spectacular scenery, in the shape of valleys, woods, volcanic wasteland, lava flows, ancient trees and rich and varied flora, delighting the visitor and conjuring up a heart-stirring tableau. An enticing invitation for travellers and lovers of nature, food and wine, sport in the open air, to be enjoyed throughout the year in such unique settings.
Here, ever since remote times past, the richness of the volcanic soil has enabled local peoples to support themselves with agriculture and animal pasturing; the thousand-year-old presence of Man on the volcano has left an indelible mark in the form of terracing, palmenti, wineries, vineyards, olive-groves, pistachio, hazel and fruit orchards, which surround the slopes of the “Montagna” (as the locals affectionately call their volcano), and bear witness to the agricultural vocation of this region. The particular micro-climate has facilitated the spread of viticulture and wine-making for hundreds of years and today wine-making has actually seen the map of the countryside redrawn. Many old palmenti have been restored while respecting biodiversity and environment; the previously-abandoned terracing and vineyards have regained their ancient splendour. It is the volcanic soil, the temperature range, the winds, the old vineyards enclosed within dry-stone walls, that help produce elegant white wines, austere and simple, with hints of citrus fruit and minerals.