Top Ten Italy Classic Adventures

Climb Europe's Tallest Volcano
By Valerio Diotto
  |  Gorp.com

The tallest live volcano in Europe rises in a perfect cone 3340 meters up from the Sicilian island of Etna. The volcano erupts from time to time, sending out streams of melted lava, destroying everything in its path. A four-day trek will take you to Etna's peak (if conditions allow), and there are refuges to sleep in along the way. You'll pass through a few different climatic zones as you ascend Etna: First the mediterranean, with cactus and palm trees. Then the fruit orchards and chestnut trees of the temperate climate, followed by alpine firs and larches. At 1900 meters, trees give way to thorny bushes, and further up is a moonscape of strangely shaped hardened lava. Up high, the snow doesn't melt until June, and you'll need warm clothes. You shouldn't go over 2900 meters without a guide who can gauge if conditions are right for climbing to the volcano's mouth.


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