This tour goes on the volcano Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe!
On its surface, there are villages, dense woods, the lava desert and areas covered with snow many months of the year. Today, it is said that Etna’s wine is Sicily’s best type, you can feel in it the smell of volcano. Here wine has been made since 300 B.C, despite the difficulty of cultivation, also said ‘heroic’, due to strong slopes, forcing people to make terracing and avoid mechanized productions.
A wine tour fits wine lovers, but it is also a tour for those who love landscapes with strong contrasts and characters, and authentic experiences far away for mass tourism.
Regarding the vineyards visited, we are flexible and open for your suggestions. The last afternoon and night you will spend it in Catania, one of Sicily’s most exiting cities
ETNA WINE TOUR. Guided tour on the volcano
DAY 1. ARRIVAL
You will be picked up at the airport with minibus and taken directly to a nice farm-hotel laying on the volcano side towards the Ionian Sea. Originally, it was a monastery of the Benedictine monks until 1500 A.C. The beautiful buildings are made of lava. Here there was wine and grapes production until some decades ago. You can take a walk on the big property of this farm, where various fruit trees – olives, cherry, walnut, and various vegetables – are cultivated. In the evening, welcome dinner with local products and wine.
DAY 2. RANDAZZO–THE VINEYARD COTTANERA–CASTIGLIONE DI SICILIA.
After breakfast, we drive northwest along the volcano side on narrow asphalt roads among vineyards. After a while we arrive to Randazzo. This is the only town at the foots of Etna which has never been destroyed by eruptions. You can find signs of the Normans, the Greeks, the Romans and the Byzantines. We take a walk in the old town and see the Cathedral and Via degli Archi. Of course, there is time for a coffee in one of the best confectionaries.
The tour continues to the Cottanera vineyard, situated few kilometers further down the valley. This is large vineyard with 600 acres of grape plants, including both Sicilian and international varieties. Lunch will be served here with their wines.
After, you will have time to stretch your legs in the small and picturesque village of Castiglione di Sicilia. It lies on a cliff overlooking the Alcantara Valley and is several thousand years old. Then minibus back to the farm-hotel. There will be some free-time before dinner.
DAY 3. SMALL WALK ON ETNA’S NORTHERN SIDE–THE VINEYARD IN SOLLECHIATA.
After breakfast we will drive up the volcano along its northern side. At Piano Provenzano, which lays at 1800 meters above the sea, we take a walk with a local guide to see lava-formations, small volcanos and caves. It is an incredible experience to walk around the lava desert and see its colors modify from grey to black, with lines of red and other colors. The length of the hike adapts to the group’s physical form. Then lunch in one of the best local trattorias. In the afternoon, we will visit a small family-driven vineyard and test their wines. Then back to the farm-hotel and free time before dinner.
DAY 4. TAORMINA- THE VINEYARD GAMBINO.
After breakfast, we drive northeast down to the Ionian Sea. The bus parks near the sea and we will take cableway up to Taormina, one of Sicily’s most famous tourist attractions, with its Roman theater, nice streets, bars and its impeccable view towards Etna and the sea.
Morning and lunchtime can be spent here or at the beach. Early in the afternoon the bus continues to the Gambino vineyard in Linguaglossa. There will be a visit to the vineyard and wine testing. Later back to the hotel and dinner.
DAY 5. RIFUGIO SAPIENZA-SMALL WALK TOWARDS THE BOVE VALLEY–THE VINEYARD OF THE BARON IN VILLAGRANDE–CATANIA.
After breakfast, we drive southwards along the volcano, passing by Zafferana Etnea and ending up at Rifugio Sapienza. We take some kilometers on foot to see the ‘Bove’ valley from 2000 meters of height. The Bove Valley is a gigantic crater which usually serves as a container of lava during eruptions, maybe preserving the villages behind. Then we continue down to Viagrande, where we will have lunch at the vineyard Barone di Villagrande . They have made wine since 1727! Then we continue to Catania, where you will find accommodation in a nice hotel in the old city center. The afternoon is all yours until the final dinner.
DAY 6. DEPARTURE
Back to the airport with minibus.