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Travel: Scicli and back to Mt. Etna Sicily, Italy. Nov 15-16/2022

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

Part 5 and last of a trip to Sicily (from Nov-10 - 16th)

Part 1 - Catania (Nov 9-10)

Part 2 - Syracuse (Nov 10-13th)

Part 3 - Noto & Modica (Nov 14th)

Part 4 - Ragusa (Nov 15th)

By the Sea Side.

Once relieved of the Raguza misrepresented "Cave Accommodation" (read previous post) we were glad to depart and checked into a small converted palace boutique hotel at the charming Scicli town, closer to the Sicily southern tip seaside.

Hotel we stayed:

Situated in Palazzo Favacchio - Patanè at Via Francesco Mormino Penna,15,

this restored elegant palace into a intimate boutique hotel, is set in the heart of Scicli.

Its rooms are spacious and the common areas floors,ceilings and furniture are beautiful decorated.

The hotel is operated by this group of hotels

Albergo Diffuso reception hotel +39 0932 1855555

Scicly Town - City of Churches

pronounced shi-kli! Less well-known than its prestigious neighbours (Ragusa, Noto and Modica) but just as beautiful, Scicli is well worth a visit when making it to southeastern Sicily.

Scicli differs from the other towns of the Val di Noto not only for its size, but also for its interesting position on a wide plateau between three narrow valleys (Modica, Santa Maria La Nova and San Bartolomeo).

The town sits in a gorge just a few miles from the long sandy beaches of Sampieri and Donnalucata, (a small fishing village) and is overlooked by a towering rocky mass on which the Church of San Matteo is erected.

Church of San Matteo

The church was built after the devastating earthquake in the 17th century. The church of San Matteo is abandoned, but it’s well worth climbing the shallow stairs up the steep hillside to take in the panoramic views of Scicli’s old town from the terrace in front of the church.

The town also shares much of its history with the other UNESCO Heritage Site towns of Val di Noto, most specifically the fateful earthquake of 1693, during which over 3,000 of the town’s population died. It was totally rebuilt in pure Sicilian Baroque style.

The many aristocratic palazzi, such as Palazzo Beneventano, which is the most fanciful of Scilis's baroque buildings with many faces and beasts carved into its decorative facade.

There is also the beautifully conserved baroque street of Via Mormino Penna along Via Francesco Mormina Penna,

and Corso Mazzini.

Palazzo iacono- town hall

Scicli’s history, predates 1693, and it is thought to have taken its name from its founders, the Sicels, one of the 3 main tribes that inhabited Sicily before the arrival of the Greek colonists. Like the rest of the island, it was passed from one invading conqueror to another, reaching its economic and cultural peak during the Arab and Norman domination.

Baccala Restaurant -Sea Food Piazza Ficili 0932.931028

A very good one

It was time to leave Val de Noto's southern part of Sicily with its amazing Baroque architecture, glam Churches and enchanting landscape behind.

Driving back up North

It took about 3 hours to drive up North toward Catania, from where our flight back to Israel was due on the afternoon of Nov 16th.

Leaving the Val de Noto valley behind

On the way up North passing Caltagirone (70km away of Catania) in the midst of an agriculture land producing of grapes, olives, peaches

Caltagirone - the Ceramic town, is a production center of pottery, particularly maiolica and terra-cotta wares. Most buildings in the old town are decorated with ceramic tiles,

Getting closer to Mt Etna

There is a saying in Italy that says "When G-d made Sicily , he created a paradise, so to balance it he also created the Sicilian" However the Sicilians are far from being a match to Mt. Etna's capricious volatile forth of nature...

At the Foot Hill of Mt Etna

The last night of Nov 15th and half day of Nov 16th were spent at the foothills of the capricious Mt. Etna - Europe's highest and most active volcano.

Hotel at Viagrande

Viagrande is a small village at the base of Mt Etna, surrounded by vineyards ,famous for its quint old town center, and is a good jumping-off point for visiting the volcano.

Hotel we stayed in

Via Antonello daMessina 3 viagrande

The hotel we stayed in the Viagrande village is an historical house transformed into an elegant boutique hotel. The owner bought it as a house for his family, then converted and opened it in 2018 for a short season, as Corona shut it down, so it only opened again 6 months ago. The rooms and sitting areas are beautifully designed and decorated.

It takes about 40 minutes drive from Viagranda village up the mountain, The road snakes between solid black Lava flows and grand views below, all the way to the higher popular stop point of Sapienza Refuge

A high mountain ski area refuge station, at an elevation of 1.935m (6,348ft) above the sea level on the southern slope of Mount Etna, with few hiking trails and roads leading to the Volcano's various smoking craters. There is also a cable car from here to the upper station on the mountain, few restaurants and trinkets shops.

With six craters and literally hundreds of vents, the UNESCO World Heritage mountain site (since 2013) is capable of producing a variety of different eruptions from devastating lava flows to simple venting of gases, and like other active volcanoes, it varies in height, increasing from deposition during eruptions and decreasing from the periodic collapse of the crater’s rim.

The craters of Silvestri below the top of Mount Etna, easily accessible from Sapienza, and the most visited part of the volcano, are two inactive craters formed as a result of the Mount Etna eruption of 1892. They are about 1900 meters above sea level, and they were the only we took a short hike to.

While on the Mountain

Anything that could go wrong on the last day, prior to flying back, went wrong..

While driving up the mountain and taking in the intriguing scenery, an alarming email from our banker came in, requesting an urgent signature on a form.

Reluctantly we drove down the mountain, in frantic search of a printing service, so the form could be printed, scanned, and emailed back.

The quint small towns at the Etna's foothill are lovely to pass through, sleep and dine at, However they are far from being great, if needing some basic necessary services

Thinking down the mountain, and "out of the box" we tried our luck at a Porch dealership we incandescently passed by, and lo and behold, the lovely receptionist agreed to print the form, off the email we forwarded to her.

Once that was accomplished, and as we puled away from the leadership, and stopped at a near by fulling station, we realized that the car had a flat tire ,punctured by a broken glass bottle, which the car drove over, at the dealership.

Luckily a young Italian whom we encountered at the station and who actually could speak English, was kind enough, to direct us to a near by garage fixer, He also helped us to explain the mechanic, that the rented car is just in need of quick repair and not a purchase of a new tire.

A wasted one hour later, and 10 Euro less, the flat was fixed, and David still was eager to stock up on some Italian products., as well as eat a proper last meal at a good restaurant.

Barely managing to enter into a third rate supermarket, at one of the Etna foothill's small villages, just a minute before it got closed for a lunch break, left us a compromised time for eating. Yet after driving through Zafferana, and getting recommendations from 2 random locals, about the same restaurant,that was situated at another small village named Giarre, David raced toward it in full speed...

On the way off the mountain passing through the beautiful town of Zafferana is a worthwhile visit

Zafferana Etna

500 meters above sea level, Zafferana Etnea a town of about 10,000 inhabitants, sits among the green hills that rise up to the heights of Mt. Etna and provides a cooler climate during the oppressive heat of summer, as well as views of landscapes toward both the mountain and the sea and quint baroque churches.

Founded in 1387, in the upper part of the Valle del Bove, the point of confluence of the lava streams from Etna's Eastern craters which frequently have destroyed the town, yet Zafferana Etnea has always been rebuilt. Last it was threatened by a volcanic eruption of Mount Etna, in the 1992

On the North side of the Mountain

Anther quint area on he North side of the mountain which we didn't get to is

Piano Provenzana. Linguaglossa The main ski area in Piano Provenzana is the ski resort Etna Nord – Linguaglossa.

The recommended restaurant in Giarre, which we frequented for lunch, however needed to abandon, due to all the previous delays of the day, and the very slow restaurant's service, (over half an hour wait) otherwise we would have had missed our flight,... Restaurant La Tavarnetta Cucina Mediterranea - Giarre Via Carolina 126 Giarre 095937145

Hungry, we rushed and arrived on time at Catania's airport, making it timely to the flight and safely back to Israel.

By By Sicily



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