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Mount Etna is the main character of a very large landscape. Its great size allows people to admire it from places you could not imagine, even from inner Sicily. If you are staying on the Ionian coast, starting from Etna and its surroundings you could plan interesting itineraries. And yet never lose sight of the volcano. The most requested and charming trip is certainly the one from Mt.Etna to Syracuse. The itinerary leads to ancient, beautiful, mysterious places. Try it, if you have never experienced it before. Or if you already know it, try it again, maybe in winter. That will be as surprising as the first time.

From Mt. Etna to Aci Trezza, on the way to Syracuse

da etna a siracusa (2)
mt etna in the sunset

After your traditional trip to Mt. Etna, which can be covered in snow down to 1000 metres, leave the mountain and head to the sea. There you are, on the Coast of Aci. You must stop in Acireale, as you go. The lovely baroque town welcomes you with its historic 18th century core, with churches and buildings in carved stone. Some white, others dark. Local cafes are famous for the delicious almond cookies and for the summer granitas ice creams.

Before going on, have some time free and walk along the stone paved path Chiazzette. It starts from the town’s centre and goes down to the beach. There you can aleady admire the coast you shall soon visit. Go through the village of Capomulini, where once many water mills used to work, then you get to Aci Trezza. Walk along the sea promenade and admire: the lava columns, the Lachea island, the main square and the craft boats’ old yards. But Syracuse is still waiting for you. It is time to go, though first we shall stop for a quick visit to Aci Castello’s norman castle.

 From Catania to Brucoli

To visit Catania it would take at least a week. There are many beauties that the Etnean city offers, but in this itinerary we will be able to see only a few, the most important ones. Walking along the Via Etnea you can admire: the gardens of Villa Bellini, the ruins of the Roman amphitheater in Piazza Stesicoro, the baroque churches of the Via dei Crociferi. And also the University square and Duomo square. The cathedral, the elephant statue and the Amenano fountain are unmissable!

Continuing towards Syracuse, for a moment we leave the coast and go to admire the Lake of Lentini,

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aci trezza

also called Biviere. Born from the artificial dam on the Trigona river, it was dried up at the beginning of the 20th century and then recreated in the 1970s. Today it is a natural oasis where dozens of beautiful birds come to rest and feed, including pink flamingos.

Next stop, Brucoli. The beauty of this village is given by the port-canal that winds inland for more than 1 km. The marine landscapes it creates, the colors, the beauty of the beaches are a particular romantic vision. And a great seafood lunch here is the natural choice.

From Augusta to Syracuse

Not far from Brucoli, here is Augusta. The city is infamous for the petrochemical industry which makes the air sometimes unbreathable. A pity, because its historic center – partly located on a small island – deserves to be admired. In particular the ancient walls and the Swabian castle. Also famous is the lighthouse, one of the most important in Sicily.

Syracuse is not far away now. Before arriving, however, let’s take a break in Melilli, among churches and baroque palaces. Or in Floridia, where there are other interesting ancient churches. Finally, here is Syracuse, the splendid capital city of Magna Graecia. Here the ancient wonders of the Greek excavations, the Greek Theater, the caves of Dionysus and the Nymphaeum await us.

And also: the historic center of Ortigia, with the baroque square of the cathedral – church that still contains, inside, the columns of a thousand-year-old temple, and the castle of Maniace. Dining in front of the almond-shaped square, with polished stone tiles, will be a worthy end to a great day. (photos by G.Musumeci)

Autore: Grazia Musumeci

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