Under sideways at the volcano .Sicily

«Italy without Sicily leaves no image in mind: only here - the key to the whole" - wrote the great Goethe.However, to pick up the key in a single visit is impossible, because the territory of the island is about 26 000 square kilometers.Sicily is necessary to "capture" the individual regions.The swimming season on the island lasts until the middle of November, but in Sicily there is something to see, and in the cold season.For example, in the eastern provinces of Catania and Messina stop those who want to be closer to the black pearl of Sicily, the famous volcano Etna.

Great smoker

most active volcano is covered with many legends in Europe.On Etna living god Hephaestus, the Cyclops Polyphemus and philosopher Empedocles, according to the myth, rushed into the mouth, which should equate it with the gods (however, there are other, less horrible, the version of the biography of the thinker).

Etna height about 3329 meters.Approximately - because this number changes after each eruption, and they occur r

egularly.Nevertheless, the Etna volcano is the most merciful, the most active since points are not too dangerous: the average speed of the lava flowing on different slopes - five kilometers per hour, so it goes without victims.Destruction happen, but it does not prevent the Sicilians settle close to the volcano, to be proud of this neighborhood, and after a spontaneous attack briskly again to rebuild houses and souvenir shops.

on Etna can be reached by a rented car, organized tour or by public transportation, which takes you to the cable car station.Here tourists visiting the crater of the extinct craters and even photographed in one of them.

to climb the volcano will need comfortable shoes and warm clothes with a hood.After all, on top of snow and fierce winds are blowing.

first part of the way to the level of 2550 meters, can be done by cable car.Through the glass booth visible hardened lava and coal ash, which were fixed weird plants.To get to a height of 3,000 meters, to the active craters, it is necessary to change to bus-terrain vehicle - they drive the winding road among the lunar landscapes.Overall, the rise is 50-60 euros per person.Who wants to save or to test themselves, doing the second part of the journey on foot.During the bus ride, you can see such enthusiastic (sometimes quite elderly), stepping up vigorously.With the ascent, however, should be careful not to roll off the gravel track and not breathe in harmful vapors.

main crater of Etna - an exclusive pleasure.Excursions with a special conductor go there only once a day.Route complicated, require special shoes and takes almost a whole day.But other active craters available and less prepared travelers.Fantastic colors, swirling smoke, steam breathable ground - all this in the frame of the unreal whether Mars, or the lunar landscape, makes a strong impression.But if you will be able to enjoy the scenery "underworld" it depends on the weather conditions on day trips.

descended back to the place of departure cable car, you can buy a souvenir some little thing from the lava: ashtray, decoration, or a statuette.A good souvenir - a local 70-degree liquor intense red color Fuoco d 'Etna ( «Fire of Etna") or "etniyskie" wine: red Nerello Mascalese and Nero d'Avola and Zibibbo white and Inzolia.By the way, lunch at the cafe located here cost an average of 25-30 euros for two.

Volcanic kitchen

Pizza - a dish obscheitalyanskoe, however, Sicily has its own branded pizza - sfinchini, ie pizza with anchovies.There are also special Sicilian pasta: with sea urchins, with eggplant, tomato and grated salt rikkoty with breadcrumbs and salted sprats.You should definitely try a salad Sicilian.It includes popular here sun-dried tomatoes, enormous olives, spicy anchovies, all charged to the potato slices.Pay attention to the true Sicilian pecorino cheese, made from sheep's milk.

desserts Islands kanolli - rolls with delicate filling of cream and torronchini - tiles with nougat and pistachio.With him as a souvenir you can take away the olive oil, olives, sun-dried tomatoes and dried, and a special honey produced in the vicinity of Etna - for example, Red or pistachio.

For Wagner and Maupassant

Taormina - Sicily luxury resort surrounded by citrus and olive groves.It liked to visit Dali, Nabokov, Wagner, Dumas, Maupassant.Last I said that if only one day to spend in Sicily, this day should be given to Taormina.

around the whole city can be on foot.Walking from the bus station or the cable car to Piazza Funivia you get to the top of Tauro hill where the historical part of Taormina.The journey should start from the Messina gate - Porta Messina, where is the town's main street, Corso Umberto.On both sides of it except souvenir shops there are many attractions.At Vittorio Emmanuele Square is an ancient palace, built in 1410, - Palazzo Corvaja.On the contrary - the Church of St. Catherine of XVII century.If you will bypass it, you get to the Odeon - small Roman theater, the calculated total of 200 people.It was built in the I century BC, the first Roman Emperor Octavian Augustus.

Among other attractions that can be seen along the way - Palace Badia Vecchia and three-nave Cathedral of San Nicolo, inside which there are paintings of the XV century artist Antonio Giuffre.Via Teatro Greco, departing from the main street, leading to the Greco-Roman theater, one of the largest ancient theaters in the Mediterranean.It offers magnificent views of Mount Etna and Taormina neighborhood.Located next to the theater Antiquarium museum has a rich collection of archaeological finds of the Greek and Roman periods.

From Taormina on the bus to Castelmola - a typical Sicilian alpine village with the ruins of an old fortress and a wonderful panoramic view.Lovers of long walks ups are sent there from Taormina on the spiral staircase, but the way this is quite tedious.

about half an hour from Taormina, in a mountain gorge of the river Alcantara is Gole dell'Alcantara reserve, a sort of offspring of Etna.The walls of the gorge formed by frozen lava erupting from the side of the crater Mojo in 2400 BC.

Ticket to Nature Park is eight euros for adults and five euros - for the child.Focusing on signs and checking the card issued to the entrance, you can wander through the nature reserve more than one hour, admiring the multi-layered black basalt slabs of unusual shape.For these, the cliffs and flows the river Alcantara, escaping down the silvery waterfalls.Moving along the route, visitors find themselves in the thickets of cactus, bamboo in more often, under the shade of lemon trees.There is even a kind of a small beach where you can go down the elevator.Beautiful views of the general form you fully enjoy from the observation deck, paying for entrance to her three euros.

Black daughter

Etna Catania, located about an hour's drive from Taormina, called the "black daughter of Etna", because most of the houses are built of black lava stone.Volcano itself often attacked the city.The last destructive earthquake in the XVII century wiped out half of Catania and neighboring villages.

main attractions of the city are concentrated around the central Cathedral Square - Piazza Del Duomo, which is easily to be reached on foot from the Central Station.There is a magnificent cathedral, built in the XI century on the ruins of Roman baths Akiliana and rebuilt in the XVI century by the sculptor Giovanni Vakkarini in the Baroque style.Inside you can admire the interesting interiors, take a look at the tomb of the great native of Catania - the composer Vincenzo Bellini, as well as the Chapel of St. Agatha (her relics are stored here for the gold door), decorated with frescoes of the XVIII century.As the story goes, St. Agatha, which are devoted to the most important and colorful religious holidays Catania, protect the city in the event of trouble.

In the center of the square is an unusual fountain Elephant - one of the main symbols of Catania, the creation of the aforementioned Vakkarini.Decorated elephant fountain figure of black volcanic stone of the Roman era and Egyptian granite stela with hieroglyphic inscriptions.These components are used by the author to create the sculpture, he, according to some reports, found during the eruption of Mount Etna, brought unusual gifts with lava.By the way, City Hall, standing next to the fountain, called the ivory palace.

Not far from the square is the Pescheria fish market, where, along with a more or less recognizable fish, swordfish and sea urchin peddling and quite unusual, unidentifiable creatures of the underwater world.

Then you can choose to walk the street Vittorio Emmanuele, passing the excavations of the ancient Roman theater, as well as a new cultural institution - Teatro Massimo Bellini, built in the XIX century.If we are again talking about Bellini, and it's worth looking at the monument to the composer, mounted on a nearby street Via Etnea.

If you turn off the Vittorio Emanuele to Mazzini square, you can go to the castle Ursino - Castello Ursino.This structure XII century, once was the sea, but in 1669 another eruption greatly expanded the shore, making the land fortress.Now the City Museum housed inside it.Admission is free in it.

Useful tips

Directions.Center for Eastern Sicily is the city of Catania.The beach season there are direct flights from Moscow to Catania-Fontanarossa Airport.And anytime you can get here by plane with a transfer in Rome, Milan and other European cities.

Transport.Bus service in the region, well-developed and is subject to a clear timetable.Railroads are not particularly convenient: they bind not all the settlements, the movement speed is low, and the status of the train leaves much to be desired.To get to this or that city is more or less rapidly, it is better to choose the bus.

ride around the island and can be rented on the car, but in this case it is necessary to be prepared for difficulties.In some areas, the steep mountain serpentine two vehicles is difficult to disperse, and the narrow streets of small towns sometimes difficult to find a parking spot.

have Scylla and Charybdis

Messina is considered less interesting than the other major cities of Sicily.Perhaps this opinion was formed due to the fact that the city has survived many disasters, the largest of which was the earthquake of December 28, 1908, when a significant part of the village was destroyed.His salvation then took an active part of the Russian navy sailors - the memory of this is embodied in the names of many of the city streets.

Still, the city has a lot to see.Here, a beautiful port, from where you can overlook the famous Strait of Messina, on the opposite banks of which lived the mythical monster Scylla and Charybdis.The first monster hiding in a cave in the rocks, lay in wait for passing ships and sailors dragged away to his lair, plying 12 feet.The second monster habits were different - they simply suck in sea water with the ship.

most spectacular views of the Strait and the famous gilded statue of the patron saint of Messina Madonna della Lettera opens from the top of the city, where you can get a mini-train from the central Piazza Duomo.In the area, by the way, should arrive by noon to watch the performance of gilded figures - symbols of the city on the tower of the cathedral, which is a magnificent building of the Norman era and is the oldest of the Sicilian Church.Before the temple is another local antiquity - Fountain of Orion, built in 1553.In continuation of the "water theme" take a look at the nearby beautiful old fountain of Neptune.By the way, according to the author of the sculpture, the god of the seas and oceans is busy useful work - tames water Messinian Bay!

Tourism and Leisure number 47