Italy 2016


Sicily's flag is characterized by the triskelion (trinacria) -like the Manx' one!


Isle of Man


The Greek-Roman Theatre suspended between sea and sky, with Mt Etna looming of the horizon

Delicious lunch at "Osteria da Ria"

Villa Communale public gardens -created by the Englishwoman Florence Trevelyan

Enjoying our luxurious aire. There is

a private sink and shower on every site!

Hike from Taormina to Mt Venere (884m high) - from right to left

Castiglione: Alcantara Gorge

Julia is happy she managed to cross the river without falling -the water is very high at the moment

Dramatic riverscapes of the Gole di Alcantara. Over four millennia, the river has carved its way through the deposists of slick grey basalt, scooping it into all manner of strange, sculptural rock formations.

Agnone Bagni (south of Catania. We were again the only ones on this aire which was a little wild

Mt Etna - South

Mt Etna is Europe's largest volcano and one of the world's most active. Eruptions occur frequently, both from the volcano's 4 summit craters and fromt its slopes, which are littered with fissures and numerous old craters

On the way down we saw many caterpillar processions, Julia counted 80 caterpillars for the one you can see on the left.


The caterpillars build their nests on the pine trees and they are crawling out and all over the place. I find it pretty disgusting :(

Note: the white dot you see underneath the nest is the moon!

Rifugio Sapienza, at 2025m altitude

Volker getting prepared for the hike with his sun hat over the helmet

View over the parking with our camper

Where you think there is only lava or ashes on the ground there is often snow underneath and you break through while walking

Zaffarena Etnea: Madonna Maria SS della Providenzia who kept the lava flow away from the village, the kiosk selling (overpriced) flavoured honey

Walking up the lava flow that flowed down the valleys and almost to Zaffarena

Some uncommon plants grow on the lava

Monday 11.4 2016: Taormina - beautiful clear day 20ºC
We took the bus at 10am departing in front of our aire Lagani in Giardini Naxos/Recanati (3€ pax return) that took us up to the bus terminal in Taormina in 25 minutes. We visited the beautifully located Greek-Roman theatre (pretty expensive with 10€ pax, in our Lonely Planet that just came out in March 2016) , wandered the Corso Umberto, strolled through the Villa Comunale (public garden) and had a delicious lunch at "Osteria Da Rita Di Bille' Sas" (36€, really good with vino rosso!). But before that we had coffee and granite accompanied by the Sicilian classic "cannoli" at Fanaberia. Bus back at 3:45 pm, but we got out at the beach front of Giardini Naxos. An ice cream at Schizzo (the ice cream was a little bit too sweet) and back to our camper which we switched places to have a better sight of Mt Etna directly from our site. N37º40'18" E15º16'00"
Tuesday 12.4.2016: Taormina and hike to Monte Veneretta
Bus at 10am and walk up to Castelmola and Monte Veneretta (884m, 5 hours, 11km). Lunch in Castelmola at the La Taverna dell'Etna with beautiful views over the Taormina valley and the Etna (very good restaurant, 50€ with apéritif). In Taormina we had a coffee at café Luraleo at the Piazza San Antonio. Then we took the bus back to Recanati. I lost my camera coming out of the bus... We still are at the aire "Lagani", N37º40'18" E15º16'00".
Wednesday 13.4.2016: Giardini Naxos/Recanati - Castiglione (elev 440m): 46km, a very hot day with 31ºC !
Drive to the Gole de Alcantara and walk up to the cashier, but when we saw what the visits cost (8€ pax for the short walk and 13€ for the longer one) we decided to continue to Castiglione and hit the trail along the gorge of the Alcantara River (3,5 h, 13,6 km). Early to bed as we were very tired. Overnight at the parking N37º53'19" E15º7'3".
Thursday 14.4.2016: Castiglione - Agnone Bagni: 95km, sunny and warm 22ºC
Drive to Acireal where we tried to visit the city but we didn't like it. We just had an ice cream at the bar Cipriani Michele and continued our drive to Agnone Bagni south of Catania where we settled at the Area Camper Nelly (15€ with electricity). A short walk to the beach along ugly, not well maintained holiday houses and a barbecue with the buffalo meat we had bought in Paestum made for a more relaxed afternoon that the days before. N37º19'52" E15º5'20"
Friday 15.4.2016: Agnone Bagni - Mt Etna at Rifugio Sapienza (elev 1920m): 66km, perfect weather, 18ºC high up
Our purpose staying here was to visit Catania today but we don't have the courage to go into a chaotic city again although it is supposed to be interesting. Maybe another time. We drove up to Rifugio Sapienza where the Funivia dell'Etna cable car runs up the mountain to 2500m. After lunch we walked up the Schiena dell'Asino (2 hours, 400m ascent, 10km), a fantastic hike up to a crater where we could see the fumarole coming out of the vulcano at 2020m and spectacular views to the shore underneath. Unfortunately our fridge doesn't work when we are higher thatn 800m. N37º41'56" E15º0'3"
Saturday 16.4.2016: Etna - Zaffarema (elev 730m): 20km, sunny and warm, 19ºC
We decided to go for a private excursion up to the to the crater summit (2920m) with Gruppo Guide Alpine Etna Sud (85€ pax). We were a group of 14 and with the guide we took the cable car up from Rigugio Sapienza, then a 4WD bus drove us up to Torre del Filosofo at 2920m. Walked through lava and snow up to the Ovest Cratere Sommitali  at 3150m. It was pretty strenuous and the sulfure gases made it difficult to walk up at the crater. After a short picnic we walked -sometimes sled- down to the Terminal Funivia at 2500 and back to our base. The whole thing took 5,5 hours. Drive to Zafferana Etnea where we bought overpriced honey (6€ for a little glas) at a kiosk and stayed overnight in front of the Madonna statue that was erected as the people were grateful that the lava stopped just 800m before reaching the village. N37º42'07" E15º05'42"

Italy 2016