CATANIA (FOR MT. ETNA), ITALY
Following breakfast, we set off in a private coach on a full-day excursion to Mount Etna, Italy’s largest active volcano, and Catania. Pass through Nicolosi, a small Sicilian village that has existed in the shadow of the volcano for centuries. A new road offers scenic views as it winds up the mountain’s slopes. Constructed after an eruption in 1983, it passes through vineyards, woods, and valleys of black lava. At approximately 2000 metres above sea level, the Rifugio Sapienza is the highest point of the mountain accessible by vehicle. We will take a short walk to the Crateri Silvestri, two sizable craters formed during a significant eruption in 1892, to admire 360-degree views of the Gulf of Catania. Lunch is served in a local restaurant overlooking the lava stream. Afterwards, continue to Catania. This city has long been dominated by Mount Etna’s presence. We join our guide for a stroll through the city centre, including the Cathedral of Saint Agatha, the picturesque Piazza del Duomo, and the Fontana dell’Elefante, which features a Roman-era elephant statue carved from Mount Etna’s basalt. The walk continues along Via Crociferi which is lined by imposing churches emblematic of Catania’s Baroque architectural style, then stop at Piazza Stesicoro, one of the main squares in Catania, to admire the monument to Vincenzo Bellini, famed Romantic composer who was born here. The walk will continue back to the port. If you wish, you can continue exploring the town on your own. This afternoon, the ship sails towards Syracuse. Overnight at sea.