You can approach your climb up Mt Etna from the south, setting out from Nicolosi and Zafferana Etnea via the Sapienza refuge, or from the north, from Taormina via Linguaglossa. The first option will get you to an altitude of 3 000m, taking you close to the grandiose Valle del Bove, hemmed in by 1 000m-high walls of lava rock and with potholes belching smoke. On the north face ends, the road ends at Piano Provenzana (1 800m). There is a magnificent view from the area around the new observatory. The final leg of the climb is in an extraordinary landscape of lava and fumaroles.
jeep tours organized everyday (weather permitting): in general mid Apr-end Oct (9am-4pm) -Etna South: information at Funivia dell'Etna, Piazza V. Emanuele 45, Nicolosi - t 095 91 41 41 - Etna North: departure from Piano Provenzana - contact STAR a few days ahead - t 095 37 13 33. Trekkings, ski tours and guided tours of caves - information South Etna: Gruppo Guide Alpine Etna Sud - Piazza V. Emanuele 43 - Nicolosi - t 095 79 14 755 - www.etnaguide.com - information Etna North: Gruppo Guide Alpine Etna Nord in Linguaglossa - Piazza A. Castrogiovanni 19 - t 095 77 74 502 - www.guidetnanord.com. About €60/visitor with a guide to visit summit craters (6-7-hr walk)