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Summer is coming to an end, together with August the heat and the good weather are leaving us. But it is still too early to get bitter, you can still make many beautiful excursions on Etna. Even with the freshest air, indeed … much better! … you can go and explore extraordinary places. And we want to take you to the discovery of places that may not always be on the tourist routes but which are always good for a quiet walk or picnic. Today we take you to Mount Maletto.

The way to Mount Maletto

Mount Maletto represents, for the western slope of Etna, a fascinating and interesting destination for several reasons. First of all for its geological history, which places it together with Mount Spagnolo among the examples of a lateral eruptive cone. Dozens of these types of cones are on the south side of Etna and several also on the north side. To the east they are almost completely absent, due to the various landslides that have affected that area. To the west rise some particular examples, such as the De Fiore Craters, Mount Spagnolo and precisely Mount Maletto.

Mount MALETTO This cone rises at 1700 meters asl, it can be reached via footpaths and in particular via the Altomontana route. It also includes a nice refuge surrounded by greenery. As the guide of the site explains, “…to reach it, you use a small forest road 880 meters long which branches off from the Pista Altomontana at an altitude of 1620 m a.s.l. The path develops along a dirt road which, in the past, was a continuous stretch until the 1976 eruption destroyed part of the path […], along a total of about 5.10 km and can be covered on average in 1-2 hours from the starting point to that of arrival”.

Mount Maletto refuge

If you are good walkers, that hour and a half walk towards the cone will not weigh you down. The reward will be a beautiful panorama and a delightful refuge, surrounded by meadows and trees, where you can stop to rest and eat. The shelter is small but sturdy, built in wood and stone, and well stocked. But even if it were closed, staying near it is pleasant. You will be surrounded by shade and forest scents. And even if you do come across cows grazing, or a few wild piglets, they will all be part of the restful scenery!

What to visit near Mount Maletto

Along the way you will find ancient stones, the foundations of a medieval castle perhaps linked to Manfredi di Maletta who in 1263 – the year the castle was built – was the owner of the feud that still bears his name today. The castle today is just a memory, but the panoramas that Manfredi admired are the same.

With just over an hour’s walk you reach the crater of Mount Spagnolo, a realm of splendid and shady beech woods. The road to the Grotta del Gelo (Ice Cave) is much more distant and difficult to face. It involves two and a half hours of walking on terrains that can only challenge very trained people. These routes must be tackled with an expert guide by your side, especially if you want to venture to the glacier-cave which is located along very steep slopes.

The town of reference for this area is Maletto. The medieval village, today, is more famous for its excellent strawberries – DOP branded – than for the monuments. Very little remains of the Middle Ages, but here nature triumphs in many forms. And on the other hand, if you come here in the summer to look for fresh air… you must absolutely enjoy the landscape. From Maletto, the city of Bronte is only 15 minutes away by car. The visit is worth the trip, because the old town and the pistachios of Bronte are at the end of another path of wonderful panoramas.

How to get there

Head by car towards Bronte and Maletto (from Catania it takes a one-hour trip, from Zafferana Etnea an hour and a half, from Nicolosi about 50 minutes), pass the town of Maletto and reach Contrada Fontana Murata. Here the road becomes more slippery, continuing on a “paved road” which will take you to the parking lot at Case Pappalardo. From this point on, you continue only on foot, unless you have 4×4 vehicles capable of dealing with woods and hills. But the advice is always to go slowly and calmly enjoy the nature all around. (PHOTOS BY Grazia Musumeci -over the title- and )

Autore: Grazia Musumeci

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