July 27th 2015

In eastern Sicily, Etna is queen. The towering presence of La Mutagna, Europe’s tallest active volcano, still dominates the land and culture of this part of the island, as she (Mount Etna is always referred to as 'she') has for countless generations. Hiking on the volcanic slopes is an unforgettable experience and for our Walk in October, our two long-serving and popular Walk Leaders from the UK, Alan Pinkney and Kate Holroyd will be walking along with the group. They are looking forward to meeting old Friends and new and are sure to each bring their own inimitable style to the gathering! Hiking beside a living, almost breathing, volcano in a cratered, ashy landscape of old lava flows is not to be missed. But then to come upon the extraordinary baroque towns like Ragusa and Siracusa is something of a culture shock. ragusa copy Greeks and Romans carved civilisation out of the rock here and centuries later, after a devastating earthquake in 1693, the local nobles employed some of the finest architects of the time to rebuild and leave an exquisite architectural legacy. We take a walking tour of Siracusa, where St Paul preached in the local quarries. Another contrast: we walk in the wilderness of the Vendicari Nature Reserve, a complex of protected coastal marshlands, and wildlife haven. e sicily stream At Pantalica we explore a Bronze Age settlement and the largest necropolis in the Mediterranean. Last, but not least, we conclude our kaleidoscope of sights with a visit to the magnificent Greek theatre (though it is of Roman date) at Taormina. Did we mention the food and wine? Etna has provided winemakers with a harsh but enormously successful landscape for vines, producing an excellent product. And Inspector Montalbano, TV’s gourmand Sicilian detective is quite right to worship his food – the cuisine here is often said to be some of the best in Italy! There is still time to join our odyssey in Eastern Sicily in October. Read more here.

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