This trek is a spectacular adventure that makes us turn around the highest active volcano in Europe, through tracks, mule paths and pistes on the back of our beloved horses, who lead us through a succession of dense woods and recent lava flows to breathtaking views of the mini continent that is Sicily.
You will arrive at Agriturismo San Marco, where the horses are based, complete with a fantastic swimming pool and wonderful views of Mount Etna.
Day 2: Agriturismo San Marco – Feudo Vagliasindi (hours of riding: 5)
After breakfast, we will set off from Agriturismo San Marco at around 9.00 in the morning and ride towards the Alcantara River and the Little Gorges of Castiglione, passing the Cuba Bizantina (a unique place of worship constructed in the seventeenth century). We will then follow the valley, crossing the Alcantara Natural Park, until we reach the area surrounding Randazzo. Here we will stop for a picnic lunch, before setting off again towards our accommodation for the night, Hotel Feudo Vagliasindi, immersed in vineyards, the old home of the barons Vagliasindi, where we will have dinner and spend the night.
Day 3: Feudo Vagliasindi – La Fucina di Vulcano (hours of riding: 5)
We will have breakfast and leave Parco Statella at around 8.30 in the morning and begin the day riding up the volcano's north-eastern side, through forests of oak and chestnut, Etna's native broom (genista aetnensis, a species which grows to impressive heights and releases an intense perfume when it is in bloom with its yellow flowers between May and September), and finally beech trees when we reach the Pista Altomontana near Monte Santa Maria. We will follow the Pista Altomontana until we reach Monte Spagnolo, and after crossing the lava flow from 1981 and its "Hornitos" (small holes that opened up during the eruption, whose name derives from the Spanish word for little ovens), we will stop for a picnic lunch. After lunch we will descend on the western slopes towards our accommodation, La Fucina di Vulcano, a comfortable hotel with magnificent views of Etna's western side, where we will have dinner and spend the night.
Day 4: La Fucina di Vulcano – Villa Dorata (hours of riding: 5)
After breakfast, we will leave La Fucina di Vulcano at around 8.30 in the morning, and climb once again up Etna's western slopes, to the Pista Altomontana, which we will join in the vicinity of Monte Scavo and follow through forests of beech and conifer trees, crossing more recent lava flows. When visibility is good, you can enjoy breath-taking views of half of Sicily and Etna's western side from here, and it is also possible to enjoy some excellent gallops along this part of the trail. We will stop for a picnic lunch near the Galvarina refuge and arrive later in the afternoon at the Villa Dorata, a beautiful villa with views of the gulf of Catania, where we will have dinner and spend the night.
Day 5: Villa Dorata – Airone Wellness Hotel (hours of riding: 5)
We will have breakfast and set off from the Villa Dorata at around 7.30 in the morning, heading in a south-westerly direction. Having left our hotel, we will start to climb towards the Rifugio Sapienza, Etna's most visited site, from where tourists can take a cable car to the summit of the volcano, and which becomes a ski resort in the winter. Once we reach an altitude of around 2000 metres, you can admire the "mouth" of the 2001 eruption, from which millions of metres cubed of lava erupted and engulfed almost all of the buildings and roads on Etna's southern side, flowing right down to the foot of the volcano. We will then pass through the middle of the Silvestri craters, created during a major eruption at the end of the nineteenth century, and nicknamed the "bottoniera" because they follow a facture line like the buttons on a shirt. We will then descend along very challenging paths across lava flows from various older and more recent eruptions and through dense woods, before arriving in the territory of Zafferana Etnea, famous for producing honey. Here we will stop for the night at the Airone Wellness Hotel, a beautiful hotel with sea views equipped with a wellness centre (which is free to use) and a swimming pool, where we will also have our evening meal.
Day 6: Airone Wellness Hotel – Chalet Clan dei Ragazzi (hours of riding: 6)
We will have breakfast and set off at about 9.00 in the morning. We will begin by climbing Etna's north-eastern side through oak forests, passing the famous Ilici du Carrinnu, huge trees which are centuries-old. We will then ride along the edge of the Valle del Bove, a famous depression in the landscape into which all of the lava from eruptions on the eastern side of the volcano flows. After a picnic lunch we will set off again, climbing until we reach the impressive Sartorius craters, created during a major lateral eruption in 1865. We will then descend through forests of birch and beech trees, before finally arriving at theRagabo pine forest with its giant pine trees and our accommodation, the Chalet Clan dei Ragazzi, where we will have dinner and spend the night.
Day 7: Chalet Clan dei Ragazzi – Agriturismo San Marco (hours of riding: 6)
After breakfast we will leave the chalet at around 9.00 in the morning and begin by climbing up through the pine forest to the Piano Provenzana, a well-known ski resort, where we will begin to climb a series of tracks and paths set in a moon-like landscape, passing through the site of the last major eruption of 2002. We will ride along the craters that were formed on 26 October of that year, before riding around Monte Nero, and stopping for a picnic lunch near the Timpa Rossa refuge, immersed in a beech forest which is among those found the furthest south in the Northern hemisphere. We will then begin our descent on Etna's north side, through a variety of forests, until we reach the vineyards around Solicchiata. Finally, we will arrive back at our starting point, Agriturismo San Marco, where we will have dinner and spend the night.
Day 8: Departure
Today we will transfer you to the airport (or another location on the island, as requested).