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

Our second suggestion for the summer on Mount Etna focuses totally on the eastern flank, in the section where it “climbs over” the ridge towards the northern flank. Here, above the towns of Milo and Fornazzo, splendid still intact woods extend. They offer fresh shade and perfumes on the hottest days of the year. At this stage we propose you three excursions, quite close to each other and in any case all connected by the Mareneve Regional Road.

summer places ETNA_ 2Cerrita Wood

At the third big bend that forms the Mareneve Road immediately after leaving the village of Fornazzo, a large open space opens up with a large parking area. Here, a wooden gate indicates the path that plunges into the shady oaks of Bosco Cerrita. Even if the gate is closed, the pedestrian passage for hikers is guaranteed by gates and overpasses permitted by the Etna Park.

The wood is very large, but from this point in particular, with about 15 minutes of easy downhill walking, you reach a small refuge, Rifugio Buffa. The delightful cabin in lava stone and wood, with a well and a very large grassy area in front of it, is perfect for families with children and for those who love to experience nature in an “easy” way. Relax … no sweating! You always walk in the shade and in some places the trunks and ancient lava stones form fascinating spontaneous natural sculptures.

Ascent to the Primo Monte

Continuing on the Mareneve, you pass the first crossroads – the one that leads to the Citelli refuge – continuing straight on and climbing on. Just before the bridge that overlooks the stream called “Quarant’ore” or Sciambro Creek, a group of signs will indicate another path. In particular, the path that leads to two ancient craters, Primo Monte and Secondo Monte.

We suggest you to go up to Primo Monte. Take the path that enters a beautiful wood, which could already be your destination if you prefer to stop here in the shade. If you continue, however, you will come to a crossroads: ignore the road that goes down and take the one that begins to climb up the hill. The first stretch is stony and tiring but the route soon becomes easier. It is not too difficult a climb, anyone who is used to walking in the mountains can do it. In a few minutes you reach a nice lava stairway. Going up the steps, you are at the top of the crater: you can rest in the shade of the birches in front of the Giorgio Privitera refuge and admire the top of Etna which rises above the brooms.

Casa Calabresi and the Ortsom sculpture

A little further on, after passing the stream and a small part of the wood, turning right at the crossroadssummer places ETNA_ 3 for Piano Provenzana, there is another path. It is close to an old lava flow which next to the Mareneve. The path is tiled but does not always have visible indications. As you go down the first stretch you will enter a wood cut by an old paved road, then interrupted by lava. Here you will see the signs for Casa Calabresi.

Follow the path, which is very easy and well marked, until you reach the refuge. Near the house, another indication tells “just 170 paces” to reach the sculpture of Ortsom. It is an installation created with branches of trees, nailed together so to form a large and artistic cage on a human scale … but above all a child scale! In summer, the place is a triumph of perfumes from the golden brooms and the bright purple flowers of the “epilobium”.

How to get there

You can choose any of these places, or even decide to visit all three of them. As mentioned, they are well connected by the Mareneve road and can be easily reached by car. The cars must then be left on the side of the road and the walking time is never too long or tiring.
From Catania it takes an hour drive to reach the midpoint of the three locations, the Quarant’ore stream; from Zafferana Etnea it is just thirty minutes; if you arrive from Taormina – leaving the motorway at Fiumefreddo and continuing towards Milo – it will take you an hour and twenty minutes drive. (all photos by G Musumeci)

Autore: Grazia Musumeci

Airport Transfers