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We told you what dagalas are on these pages some time ago, and if you remember well there was something magical in that story. Like there is always something magical in each of these oases sown among the lava expanses. For the month of October, our suggestion for the ideal autumn place is right among the dagalas. In particular, in Piano Provenzana, Etna North.

Piano Provenzana and the battle against lava

Piano Provenzana is a large plain that opens onto the northern side of Mount Etna. A beautiful balcony overlooking the sea of Giardini Naxos, Taormina and part of the Alcantara Valley. It is no coincidence that this is where the most beautiful ski and snowboard slopes in eastern Sicily are located. Piano Provenzana has always been home to refuges, restaurants, shops and a ski school complete with ski lifts. Yet, although apparently very far from the summit craters, Piano Provenzana has always had to fight against the lava.

The most dramatic eruption was that of 2002 when an entire series of effusive vents opened above the plateau. The lava overwhelmed structures, woods and paths, destroying almost everything. “Almost”, because sometimes even the ferocious rivers of fire of Etna take pity on the beautiful nature and spare it. They surround it but do not burn it. And at the end of the eruption, when the lava becomes an enormous expanse of black rock, those oases of intact green remain there. Here are the Dagalas.


The dagalas of Piano Provenzana in autumn

There are two points in particular, in Piano Provenzana, where autumn nature enthusiasts go every year. The dagala of Riconco Favazzo and the dagala of the Ski Lift.

The first is right in front of the car parks. Go follow the small road that branches off from the main road to reach the Monte Conca Refuge. As you walk up, on the left opens the pit of the old Riconco Favazzo crater, today used as a sheepfold by passing shepherds. On the right a delightful grove of beech, pine and birch trees was saved from the fury of the lava and today is an oasis, that is: a “dagala”. In autumn, all the leaves here turn orange and red, creating wonderful hue contrasts. Here and there the “ghost trees” also stand out. These are trunks still standing, but they were killed by the heat of the lava which bleached them but did not burn them.

If you move near the ski lift, passing further, you go up towards other splendid woods. These too, surrounded by old lava branches, today form a much larger oasis full of shadowy corners that are tinged with red and gold in autumn.

When to visit the Piano Provenzana dagalas

For a picnic and a relaxing day, Piano Provenzana’s dagalas are always the best idea. In summer they offer shade and the scents of fresh grass. In autumn, all the colors of the season fill the eyes. The advice is to visit these places in autumn, between October and November. Even if it’s foggy or rainy, don’t miss out on this experience. Imagine the red foliage of the trees emerging from the milky veil of the autumn mists… a spectacle that makes these places perfect even if it is cold. In spring, sometimes, you can go on donkey excursions, thanks to the equestrian guides who are stationed near the Favazzo crater in that season.

How to get there

To get to Piano Provenzana you can go up either from Milo, Etna East, or from Linguaglossa, Etna North. From Milo you will follow the Strada Regionale Mareneve up to the crossroads of Rifugio Citelli from where you will continue to the right. From Linguaglossa you will follow Via Roma, Statale 120 and then merge onto Mareneve to your destination. From Catania, you arrive at Piano Provenzana with a journey of one hour and twenty minute drive covering approximately 55 km. (ALL PHOTOS BY GRAZIA MUSUMECI)

Autore: Grazia Musumeci

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