The beautiful island of Sicily, every year attracts an average of fourteen million holidaymakers, thanks to the immense biodiversity that it offers and the rich historical heritage.
The Mighty Mount Etna is a big attraction for millions of travellers that every year choose Sicily as a travel destination. This active volcano has been known for his spectacular eruptions for thousand of years. The first written records date back to the 7-century B.c. When the Greeks colonized this beautiful corner of the Mediterranean sea. On the last decades, this active volcano has risen to international fame as a top location in Italy for outdoor activities.
Through a series of trekking trails, people can reach the active craters up to the summit at an altitude of 3320 meters. During winter the slopes covered with snows offer plenty of opportunities to enjoy some snowboard. For Mountain bike lovers the “Altomontana Trail” is the place to enjoy the volcano on two wheels. While the proximity of the marine park of Isola Bella lengthen the list of available activities with sea kayak and stand up paddle excursions.
When we think about Italy, one of the first word associated with this beautiful country is food, while the second is wine. Some of the northern regions have been marketing their high-quality wines for a long time. We all know the Chianti from Toscany, the Valpolicella produced around Verona the city of Romeo and Juliette or the super expensive Barolo from Piemonte.
Mount Etna, the rising star of Italian wines
But Sicily? Does it even produce Wines? It is hard to know when the first production of red wine started in the island, some date it back to the 7-century B.c when the Greeks arrived in Sicily. Others think that already in the 8th-century b.c. the Phoenicians introduced the Sicilians to the nectar of the gods. The most appreciated wines of Sicily are dessert wines. The Aeolian islands produce the Malvasia, The island of Pantelleria the Passito, at the same time, the West district of Sicily has the world-famous Marsala.
And Mount Etna wines? How come they never reached the fame of their northern Italian counterparts? Well, the soil of the volcano is extremely rich in mineral, creating a complex structure hard to balance. The area around Mt. Etna is subject to severe thermic excursions up to twenty degrees in wintertime. Moreover, in the past, the lack of local expertise in the winemaking process have contributed to producing a high volume of wines with low quality.
On the last fifteen years, things have changed, A new generation of Sicilian enologist has been able to obtain some exciting wines with the best quality-price ratio in Italy. The lower flanks of the volcano now day host hundred of wineries, run by local families. The nerello mascalese and Nerello cappuccio native grapes of the volcano are blended together to produce a red wine with a complex structure but still easy to drink. Often the red wines from Mount Etna among other flavours have lots of hints of spices, chocolate and leather.
The Cataratto and Caricante grapes deliver an exciting and fresh white wine that reflect the rich mineral soil upon which they are cultivated. The wine district of mount Etna has become a big attraction for wine lovers from all over the world. The ideal place to stay in Sicily in order to enjoy the nature of mount etna while being close to the sea is either Taormina or Giardini Naxos.
A full day around the wine district of mount Etna can cost as little as €90. For that price local tour operators like Sicily Active, offers Jeep tour of the volcano, gentle trekking on Etna and a visit to a winery. The cost of the excursion includes the tasting of five wines and a three-course meal. Next time you’ll think about the Mediterranean, think Sicily. This beautiful island offers much more than you might imagine. In a single day, you can sail in the wonderful marine park of “Isola Bella”, and by lunchtime, you can seat on the flank of an active volcano for an exclusive wine tasting.
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