Today meet the off-road’s driver at your hotel at 8:30am and transfer to Etna Volcano. Your Driver will pick-up you with an air conditioned Land Rover (or similar 4x4 vehicle) from you Hotel or other accommodation located in Taormina area (it also covers pick-up from Castelmola, Giardini Naxos, Letojanni, Giarre and Fiumefreddo).
During our first stop we will discover a unique canyon comprised of basaltic lava (the “ Alcantara Gorges”) and shaped by the waters of the Alcantara river. The Alcantara's vertical cliffs reach 30 meters in height and its structures have been forged by high intensity geological and geothermal events. In prehistoric times, a river flowed here over clay sediments until a massive volcanic eruption channeled magma into the river bed forming the current canyons. After this stop, we will visit the historic center of Castiglione di Sicilia, a medieval village perched on a hill overlooking the Alcantara valley. The tour includes a walk to the Belvedere of the Castello di Lauria (of Norman-Swabian origin dating back to the twelfth century and built on the highest cliff of the medieval village).
A lovely drive along the Northern slopes of the Volcano (regular road) will give you the opportunity to visit different lava flows and to observe geological and botanical treasures. Lava flow of 1923 reached the town of Linguaglossa, while the near village of Catena was partially destroyed. Driving through pines, oaks and brooms we will continue the Etna ascent and after an off-road itinerary you will visit the lava front of 2002 and a natural cave created from the lava flow.
We will then proceed to an area called Piano Provenzana located at 1800 meters above sea level, where we will see the effect of the great eruption of 2002. This eruption lasted almost three months and it is considered one of the most explosive eruptions from the twentieth century. At Piano Provenzana you will find a ski resort.
In accordance with your Driver, it is possible to do a medium hiking and see some of the side craters characterized by seven small, aligned eruptive cones (or "buttonholes"). Along the way we will stop to enjoy a breathtaking view of the North-East Crater, the eruptive mouths and 2002 lava flow, and down to the sea you will admire part of the Ionian and Calabrian coast.
Then, proceed to have lunch in a typical country restaurant where you will be served a 3 courses menu which includes a rich selection of starter (salami, cheese, vegetables of the season), a taste of pasta and dessert. Lunch will also include local wine and mineral water.
After lunch the tour will get back to your hotel located in Taormina area (approx. 3pm).