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San Gandolfo Festival
The 7th Wednesday after Easter and the 3rd week end in September
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The Most Holy Crucifix
Starts May 1st
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La Sagra delle Nocciole (The Hazelnut Festival)
Always in August usually after the 15th, a moveable date

Lo Sfoglio
Late August

Santa Lucia
December 13


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Notes on Mt Etna

Posted by Suzanne Turrisi on 19 Aug 2023

A mighty volcano -fertile, mythical, slumbering and active

It is splendid and big. Yet when driving the A19 from Palermo heading east towards Catania I have at times been underwhelmed by Europe’s highest active volcano. It does not rise majestically enough from this southern point to show its best self.

When seen from Taormina though, and the northern SS120 road its beauty, size and grandeur shine.

From the Greek Theatre Taormina

Its intimidating powers have been recorded since ancient times in great mythical style - (the god Vulcan had his blacksmith forge under Etna). And in centuries past it has swallowed up towns and cities with its unrelenting molten flow. The undeniable fertile soil has produced citrus, pistachio, vegetables, and great wines for ages.

Yet to walk its lower gravelly lava slopes this fiery mountain seems almost benign.

Walking Etna lower slopes 

A real beauty from Taormina 

It looks unapologetically photogenic (particularly snow covered) when seen from the unrivalled position of Taormina’s ancient Greek Theatre, Hotel Casa Cuseni or from the big balcony of Piazza Aprile on Taormina’s main Corso.

I spent 4 nights in Taormina at Hotel Casa Cuseni at the end of 2022 and Etna had only a tiny lava flow which did glow in the dark. But no showstopper. (As I write this Etna is in spectacular eruption mode.) Unfortunately, the snow coverage of this mighty volcano in December 2022 was not the normal postcard image. It was a warm Christmas.

From the Greek Theatre Taormina

From Casa Cuseni

Etna on the SS120 on the road to Cesaro 

From the SS120; past lovely lava villages including Linguaglossa, Randazzo and Cesaro, to travel through the gloriously untouched Nebrodi Mountains, Etna was more of a showstopper in early January.

I was heading back to the house in Polizzi Generosa.

On the road to the Nebrodi Mountains near Cesaro


To Stay and eat:

Taormina: Stay at Casa Cuseni – what an unrivalled position in a historic yellow villa. Great rooms, warm hospitality, and a very good breakfast. Small and quiet. One of a few good vantage points to view nighttime lava flows. Eat at Ristorante Al Duomo. Have an aperitivo at Hotel Timeo on the terrace.

Linguaglossa: Stay at Shalai – a wonderful small hotel with a great Michelin stella restaurant. Sitting in a back street of Linguaglossa at 600m on the northern slopes of Etna.

Cesaro: Driving through the Nebrodi eat at Relais Villa Miraglia – great food and wine ‘immersed in the quiet of the woods”.  Some rooms are available as well. Earmarked for a stay when next in the Nebrodi.




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