Date of Trip: December 2006
This is a story about my trekking trip at the discovery of the 2° most active volcanoes of the World: Mount Etna (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Etna) and the Stromboli (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stromboli) in the Aeolian islands.
This volcanoes are located in the Sicily island (http://www.italiantourism.com/sicilia.html), south of Italy in the Mediterranean sea. The Aeolian Islands are an archipelago of 7 little islands: Lipari, Vulcano, Salina, Panarea, Stromboli, Filicudi and Alicudi. These island are the result of a sub-marine eruptive activity that creates them from the sea.
In this trip I found a strange contrast between different landscapes: The destruction caused by the lava flows and the free nature the grows after an eruption and the fact that it’s frequent to see a lot of people that swim in the sea while the volcano is on eruption.
The Mt. Etna is the highest active volcano in Europe (In the world is the second after the Kilauea volcano in the Hawaii). HereI found another different kind of contrast: You can reach the sea in 15 minutes starting from a 3.350 meters high mountain….you could ski and in 30 minutes you could go on the beach. In my Etna excursions (http://www.volcanoetna.com/en/travel-guide/faq-etna-excursion.html) in DecemberI was very lucky because i saw a real volcanic eruption: Lava fountain, explosions and much more
Here you are the report of this trip…
Day n°1: Arrive at the Catania airport (http://www.aeroporto.catania.it/) in the morning. I reach the group at the Catania dome square, meeting and a little sight seeing tour of the City main streets and buildings of the city. In the evening a great pizza in a typical restaurant.
Day n°2: I take the hydrofoil in Milazzo (Messina) to the island of Lipari.
Day n°3: In the morning we take the hydrofoil to Vulcano island to do an excursion to Vulcano’s crater to see the Fumarole, gases emissions always active.
Day n°4: In the morning a little tour to discover the old city of Lipari. In the afternoon a visit to the Stromboli island to see the “Sciara del Fuoco” (Hill of Fire), the point where the lava flows of the volcano goes into the sea.
Day n°5: In the morning a boat tour of the island of Stromboli.
Day n°6: In the late morning the hydrofoil from Stromboli to Milazzo and to reach the southern side of Mt Etna at 1900 mt and tale the first approach doing a trekking on the “craters Silvestri”.
Day n°7: In the morning an excursion up to 2900 mt at the discovery of the big craters opened during the 2002/03 eruption. In the afternoon a visit to the “Bove Valley” a volcanic desert formed by the collapse of the old volcano structure. This desert is the only piece of land on the heart similar to Mars…here the NASA did its experiment to test the robots that reach Mars.
Day n°8: At the end we reached the Catania airport to go home.
Here some tips to maximize your experience…
* Have a look of the trip on a map
* The Italian laws don’t permit to access to the summit of the volcanoes without a professional guide over 2.900 meter on the Etna and 400 meters on Stromboli.
* You’ll need this equipment: Good and solid trekking shoes, trekking trousers, bathing suit, Hat and gloves, water proof jacket, multitask knife and alpenstock.