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Here we suggest a nice idea you can enjoy anytime you like. A picnic at the Sartorius Craters, possibly at sunset. With the help of a good guide you shall learn the way, then you will come back when you like so to live again this special moment.

There is no food area at the Sartorius, which means you must take prepackaged cooked food because you cannot light a fire. Of course, make sure you have enough bags for your waste, so you will not leave any garbage in the nature. Said this, you are ready for this beautiful experience.

Colours of the Sartorius Craters

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smoking top of Etna seen from the Sartorius

The Sartorius Craters are a “button-shaped” line of craters which opened on the north side of Mt Etna between January and June 1865. At first, the soil broke at Mt Fontana delle Concazze on January 29th, then it cracked on a 400 meters line. Eight lava fountains started from this fracture and they came out of eight small cones. The eruption ended six months later. Three lava streams had spread in the valley and eight craters remained. They were named after the volcanologist Sartorius Von Walterhausen (1809-1876).

The craters today still look  bare and dry as they probably appeared 200 years ago. They are close to the top of Etna, so the many volcanic debris in centuries have often fallen there. This is why you see the Sartorius all dark with lava, dotted with pine trees and birches. The lower craters are now all covered in vegetation. The beautiful contrast between bright green and black, or the autumn shades of the birches’ golden leaves make this place a great charming view. Plus the sunset light, which makes the colours even warmer.

The environment of the Sartorius

The Sartorius path is one of the easiest and least heavy on Etna. You enter easily from an entrance located along the road that goes up to Citelli Refuge. Then you walk on a flat path among beautiful Etnean birch trees – a rare specimen of Nordic plant adapted to the Mediterranean climate. At a certain point the path forks. To the left you go towards the birch woods and towards the road that reaches Monte Baracca; to the right, you will cross a large clearing devoid of trees and begin the ascent to the craters.

Along the way you can admire mosses, lichens, astragalus, gorse bushes and Etna Daisy pads.

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nice contrast of colours and light

Birds such as the wheatear and the black redstart will fly overhead. In addition to the remains of ancient lava flows, you can see some volcanic bombs always emitted on the occasion of the eruption of 1865.

The Sartorius are relatively low craters, climbing them is not difficult at all. Some have steep edges so be careful, especially if you have children with you. From the top of the craters you can admire on one side the panorama of the Catania coast, on the other side the top of Etna behind which the sun sets.

A picnic at sunset

We advise you to arrive in time on the site of the craters, so to admire the moment when the sun sets and the sky – together with the trees all around – change color.

In the meantime, you can organize yourself with your picnic basket. Make sure you have put some of the delights of Sicilian cuisine, in:  arancinos, if you want, or a good sandwich topped with roasted Linguaglossa sausage. Enjoy a slice of “pane cunsatu” (homemade bread baked and seasoned with oil, pepper, olives and oregano), portions of pasta alla Norma ready to taste. And you certainly cannot  miss the cannoli and the excellent Etna wines to toast the beauty of the landscape.

Some local companies occasionally organize wine or honey tastings at the Sartorius, always in the cool hours of the afternoon. It is special to wait for the sunset while savouring zero-kilometer delicacies. The scents of nature all around will do the rest, adding flavor to the flavor. (photos by G Musumeci)

Autore: Grazia Musumeci

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