TRANSFEERO: Reliable airport transfers worldwide
Book a private transfer at over 1500 airports, stations and ports worldwide

The first time you read the news in the newspaper it may surprise you. The second time it fascinates you. Then it becomes a habit, but a pleasant habit, not a boring one. You get used to extraordinary adventures when they become a real life path, a daily style, a… family affair! This could be the synthesis of the life and work of the Catanese brothers Dario and Paolo Teri, discoverers of wonderful caves on that “planet Etna” that seemed to have already been explored. Instead, it still has a lot to say.

Skiing brothers with a passion for caves

TERI brothers Etna2Dario Teri was born in 1981, his brother Paolo in 1987. They have very un-Sicilian characteristics and colours and yet they are an integral part of the most important symbol of Sicily … the great volcano Mount Etna. A mountain that has always been their home.

Dario says: “The passion for the mountains and for Etna was born thanks to skiing. So, first we wore skis, in the early 1990s, at the ski-slopes school of Nicolosi and also on cross-country ski slopes in Piano Vetore. Then we had the good fortune to strengthen the passion in the Dolomites, in Moena, encouraged by our parents. Shortly thereafter we were involved by some instructors in competitive skiing. We never stopped and we fell in love with the mountain and consequently with our volcano”

On Mount Etna the two brothers work – as nature guides and ski instructors – and live together with their families, but this is also the universe they love to discover by going where no one has yet arrived. Because Etna is never enough. And if you know it well on the surface, you can’t help but explore its darkest depths.

The caves of the Teri brothers

“The passion for caves has been an evolution of our activity as hikers and guides.” Dario Teri says again: “It was the growing desire to get to know the volcano, first by walking on all the traced paths, then on the old mule tracks now disused or forgotten. Some of them led right to volcanic cavities, perhaps used as an occasional shelter or just to collect snow for making ice-creams in the past.”TERI brothers Etna3

And the snow and ice caves are among the most important discoveries of the brothers. On Etna there was already “the southernmost perennial glacier in Europe”, the so-called Grotta del Gelo (Frost Cave). But no one suspected that that glacier was even in good company. The Teri brothers brought to light its “twin”, the Polar Cave, in 2021. And only a year later also a third cave full of ice, the Three Thousand Cave, was found. It is located precisely at 3000 meters above sea level. This last grotto is among the youngest of the volcano, dating back to the 2000s. Teri adds:
“However, we had already visited a conspicuous number of caves among those known and registered. But it was from 2018 onwards and later with the arrival of the Covid times that, due to the forced stop of work, we were able to dedicate ourselves to this activity of exploration of the Etna underground world. We are not speleologists, we do not define ourselves as such in the technical sense of the term, but we can humbly define ourselves as explorers of the Etna area, convinced of the fact that there are many wonders to discover (or rediscover in the case of caves used in the past). In the end, the approximately eighty caves we surveyed actually confirm this.”

The greatest emotion

It is natural to wonder why no one had ever come to discover these caves before them. But we are quickly proved wrong:
“Actually there have been many groups of speleologists or enthusiasts who have allowed many caves to come to light in the past. At least two-hundred-and-sixty have been registered by the Alpine Club’s Cave Group and the Etna Speleological Centre. Others came thanks to individual enthusiasts. Indeed, in part it is thanks to these that we have had incentives to start new research. Our strong point is attributable to the fact that we are good walkers and we move quite well and for many kilometers on rough and difficult terrain. Furthermore, technology facilitates the work of planning explorations. Thanks to satellite photos, we can in fact get an idea of where to concentrate our searches”.

The two brothers also dedicated one of their latest discoveries to the famous italian journalist Piero Angela while yet another cave, in the Bronte area, became Grotta di Gravità Permanente, dedicated to Maestro Franco Battiato . Now, all that remains is to understand which, among many, was the most exciting cave to discover.

“The most exciting was the Polar Cave – where we were amazed to have discovered a cavity similar to the more famous Grotta del Gelo, with the presence of perennial ice inside. Among other things, at a lower altitude and latitude than this, which until then could boast of being the southernmost glacier in Europe. Then also the Three Thousand Cave was a great emotion: also spectacular and always with ice, but this time the record is given by the fact that it would be the highest hypogeum on Etna. In a word, it is at a stone’s throw from the active craters! Finally the Tifeo Cave (May 2022) which has some of the most particular and mammoth morphologies ever seen by us”
If you want to contact the Teri brothers, to find out more about their splendid exploits … perhaps while you are following an exciting ski lesson with them on the snowy slopes of the volcano … all you have to do is send an email to [email protected] and meet them … live! (photos from Dario Teri’s Facebook)

Autore: Grazia Musumeci

Airport Transfers