“…but with fearsome ruins spear the sky thundering Etna and smoke and pitch, balls of flame and sparks rising almost touching the stars, and sometimes the boulders, uprooted from the bowels of the mountains erupting scale, turns in the air and liquefied rocks with a roar of thunder; shaking all the deepest abyss… all Trinacria clattering shakes of hot clouds and the sky is covered”
(Virgilio, Eneide, Book III)
Hidden in the folds of the mountains area, “Etna Park” is the first regional park of Sicily with an area of 59,000 hectares, including the territory of 20 municipalities.
Lies east of the waters of the Ionian Sea, south to the Piana of Catania, west and north to the foothills of the mountains Nebrodi, Etna Park surprised not only by the grandeur of the eruptions and lava flows of the highest active volcano in Europe, but also for the beautiful landscape, where the territory is in harmony with vegetation.
The slopes of lava create islands of beech trees, corners of paradise through forests of pine trees, chestnut, oak and surrounded by a beta fauna of rare beauty.
Along the trails, hikers can observe the majestic flight of the golden eagle, but also the Satiro Faggio – a butterfly camouflaged among the tree trunks- , the buzzard and others weasels, dormice, foxes, herons owl, the barn owl, the horned owl, the porcupine and wild doves.
Etna surprising also for its rare beauty and majesty. The active volcano is about 3,300 meters above sea level, but this changes for the accumulation of volcanic material due to frequent explosions.
At his feet you can find important points of interest as natural trails: about 200 lava caves (previously used as burial sites), mountains and cones developed during the eruptions.
Bronte is situated on a beautiful landscape of lave cordate, the most famous of which of 1651. Here, along the streets in traditional basalt lava, you get to the “Piano dei Grilli Casermetta” or “Piano delle Ginestre” that is a starting point to reach the beautiful woods of Etna, passing between the land colonized by broom. Penetrating into the dense woods of Lecci and Roverelle it is possible to see “Monte Tre Frati”, “Monte Peloso” and “Monte Ruvolo”: here you can admire the lava flows of 1651, 1747 and 1843, respectively.
On the north side, we find the “Piano dei Damusi”, whose suggestive lave hawaiiane have originated from the largest ever recorded Etna eruption that lasted 10 years from 1614-24; and the “Grotta del Gelo” with a characteristic arched vault of lava stone and a temperature inside that, even in the summer, does not exceed 6 ° C, as a result of the presence of permafrost: this cave in the past was the only source of refreshment.
On the east side, a green corner with mythological origins: the Chestnut Tree of One Hundred Horses, one of the oldest and largest trees existing on earth, wich an estimated age of 3-4 thousand years. A legend says that Queen Giovanna d’Angiò, with his hundred knights, found shelter here, under the broad leaves, during a storm.
One of the most impressive place around the volcano is “Valle del Bove”, an ancient caldera, which is what remains of the extinct volcano named “Trifoglietto”.
But Etna Park is not only synonymous of natural beauties. In fact the particular characteristics of soil and climate, create suggestive stretches of vines like “Nerello” and “Carricante”. In the north-west side of the volcano,from 400 to 800 meters above sea level and in particular in the territory of Bronte and Maletto, grows respectively pistachio and strawberries.
The majesty of the volcano, the trails, the unique landscapes, the historic centre of the towns, the typical products, make Etna Park an attractive destination for all travelers, wine lovers, sports lovers and gourmets.