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When you climb a mountain you feel like you are the king/queen of the world. Though the climbing is hard, the hiking is tough, you go on and imagine your prize: the wonderful view from the panoramic points, the world at your feet! If the mountain is a volcano, like Mt Etna, you could also admire the view with lava fountains, or ash clouds above. A double show, if you know how to go and WHERE to go. Here are suggestions about the best panoramic points of Mt Etna. Some easy and some difficult, for you to know.

Panoramic points in Milo and Citelli

If your guide will meet you at Milo’s main square, you are lucky already. The village’s square, in fact, is a wonderful panoramic point. Not far from the local café, the balcony overlooks the whole of eastern flank of the volcano. The sea, the coast up to Taormina is at your feet. Taormina itself, the “queen”, is at your feet. If the air is clear, you might see the Calabrian coast, on the horizon.

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the view from Milo’s square

From Milo you go up to Citelli Refuge. From the Citelli’s balcony you will admire the same view as Milo, but wider. You will also see the two main ports – Riposto and Catania – of the coast. Not far from Citelli, two routes will take you to the panoramic points over Valle del Bove: Parrini-Monte Scorsone route and Serracozzo route.

Schiena dell’Asino

The Schiena dell’Asino (back of the donkey) route starts a few kilometers before the Rifugio Sapienza locality. Leave the car in a clearing a few meters from the path – well indicated – and follow this route. It is quite heavy during the first hour of the ascent, but becomes flat and relaxing in the last part. You walk until you reach an open space at the end of which are placed some detection systems and antennas of the Institute of Geophysics. From here, you can admire the summit craters and the Valle del Bove at your feet.

Panoramic points of the Silvestri Craters

The Silvestri Craters are a group of small eruptive vents dating back to the 19th century. Some are low and easily scalable, one is much steeper. From the top of these hills, the gaze freely covers a unique spectacle: the whole east coast, up to Syracuse, and part of the Sicilian hinterland. Nearby, you can eat

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view from the Silvestri

and relax at the restaurants that surround the Sapienza Refuge. Unfortunately from here it is impossible to see the main craters of Etna. But not far away there is the cable way, which will take you up, over 2700 meters, towards the summit.

Summit Craters

The summit craters of Etna are located at 3,300 meters and their height varies according to the eruptions that deform their physical appearance. If you go to the summit craters it is mandatory to be accompanied by expert guides and obey their orders. It is not always possible to approach or climb these craters. Depending on the conditions of activity of the volcano, the visit could also stop much earlier – Torre del Filosofo area,  Ecrivà Craters. In any case, from up here – meter plus meter less – you can admire the whole of Sicily.

Sciara del Ragabo

A less difficult route, suitable for families, is the one that starts from the dense Ragabo pine forest, near the Brunek refuge, in Etna Nord (Linguaglossa). From here you walk for less than an hour, first crossing the wood, then – at the height of the Forestry barracks, turn left and continue through the vegetation until it opens onto a sciara (lava desert).

Following the marked path, you go up on the tongues of rock through another small wood. After this too, you arrive at a panoramic point that opens onto the north flank and the Peloritani Range. In case of optimal visibility, the attentive eye of the guides can see – among the distant peaks – even the silhouettes of the Aeolian Islands! (PHOTOS by GRAZIA MUSUMECI)

Autore: Grazia Musumeci

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