Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Trip Up Mt. Etna

Tuesday afternoon we decided to drive up Mt. Etna, a still very active volcano, to Refugio Sapienza, elevation 6,500 feet, an area that has a cable-car that will take you very near to the top of Mt. Etna, elevation 10,900 feet.  At the end of the cable-car ride there are a myriad of hiking/cross country skiing trails.  Paul plans to explore this high altitude region of our ever present neighbor on foot later this spring when the temperature gets a little warmer.

Refugio Sapienza

In 2001 and 2002, Refugio Sapienza was extensively damaged by a lava flow, destroying the ski lifts and the cable-car apparatus.  This flow came to within 2.5 miles of the nearby village of Nicolosi, population 6,197.

Refugio Sapienza is a Snow Fun Area

With alpine skiing, cross country skiing, sledding and probably a snow ball fight or two, Refugio Sapienza was built to give people a chance to enjoy all sorts of winter activities.

When I saw this sign about 100 meters north of where we parked our car I had to wonder why you may visit Silvestri Crater but are not allowed to go sledding on it?


No snow there today but you would have to be CRAZY to even think of riding a sled down this sheer 150 foot cliff day or night no matter how much snow there was!

Parts of Mt. Etna are above the clouds

Paul taking photos on an old lava bed.

A very surreal abandoned village in a pristine alpine setting on
Mt. Etna's southern slope.

The late afternoon sunlight, the mist and nature herself made for
a beautiful little glen.

An old building meets a new one.

The Murgo Winery

On the way down Mt. Etna, we stopped at the Murgo Winery that I discovered with Mark and Susie Johnson last spring.  The three of us really liked their selection of wines and the charming ambience of the vineyard.  They were closed for the day when we arrived so we just poked around for future reference.

How old is this keg?

Any winery with a St. George reference is good for me!

Shopping for groceries in Acireale

They LOVE their modern day statues in Acireale!  See last spring's "Lemon Man" in junction with Acireale hosting the 2008 Junior World Fencing Championships.  This clown was the statuary symbol of Acireale's Pre-Lenten Carnavale that ended last week.

"Broken" the DVD

While shopping, we found Elephant team doctor's, (Dr. Angelo di Giunta, #56, a LB many Elephant seasons ago), DVD chronicling all of the Elephants 2008 injuries that devastated our defense.

It's Vanessa time in Acireale

Be sure to read my housemate Paul's guest blog post which is just below this one.  I believe in equal time for opposing viewpoints from responsible citizens.


Anonymous said...

I'm beginning to like your town more and more.

J TWICE said...


As always, a couple thoughts for ya:

1) Please only refer to a slope as being "Alpine" if it is actually in the ALPS. I have found Tyrolians and other actual Alpine dwellers get quite feisty when their backyard gets pawned off as some description of a measly little hill you call Etna.

2) Was that sledding sign for real or was that created using "The Hand of God."

3) If said sign was real, who in their right mind would actually do it? Although I heard it is actually more scary to try to walk 10 feet into a crater like that then actually sled...

4) If asked to elaborate on any of the above points, I plead the Giulio. I DO NOT KNOW.

George said...

1) Tyrolians are WAY too provincial

2) All pictures are only slightly enhanced by some minor 3rd century martyred saint who was slow roasted over on an open spit.

3) Only a madman

4) As Sgt, Schultz of the old TV show "Hogan's Heroes" would say, "I KNOW NOTHING!"