Mars on Earth. While planning my trip to Sicily, I was obviously looking forward to visit Mount Etna. I love islands, and I especially love volcanic islands. I have been to Tenerife before so it was exciting to see how Mount Etna looked like.
I read tonnes of articles about getting around there, but we ended up doing something completely different. We didn’t buy an organized tour, we didn’t join any excursions. We didn’t ride the horse or drove 4 × 4s. We didn’t even see the main volcano’s crater in the end.
Here is what we did instead….
We drove from the beautiful town of Taormina where we were staying to a town of Linguaglossa on the north side of the mountain hoping to see some stunning vistas, but it wasn’t that impressive, so we decided to start driving south. After we passed the town of Milo where the landscape has changed. Instead of vegetation, there are vast fields of black lava soil. Very apocalyptic!
We drove further to Zafferana Etna, the town which was once almost destroyed by an eruption (Mount Etna is still an active volcano). From there you can hire a tour, a 4 × 4, or a horse. We decided to do none of those but just drive until the end of the road. This way, we found ourselves near the main tourists information and hospitality center of Mount Etna.
We saw a road sign showing us a hiking route to some craters formed by the 1980s eruptions. I don’t know exactly why, but we left our hiking shoes back in Taormina (although we brought them on purpose and they have actually occupied half of the luggage!), so we decided to hike wearing white Adidas shoes and Ecco sandals (in my case).
First, those craters seemed to be bleak. But then, as the golden hour of photography was approaching and our eyes got more used to the surroundings, we started to see subtle colors: red, orange, green. Suddenly everything around us became very vibrant and surreal. I don’t think it would be an understatement to say that the landscape reminded us of Mars.
I was super glad to have my Lubitel with me. Although I have only managed to master it a few films ago, I knew it was the right camera for the job!
95019 Zafferana Etnea,
Province of Catania,