Itineraries and Routes
Mount Fontains is located on the northeastern side of Mount Etna. About 1200 meters a.s.l. we meet the locality called Pietra Cannone in the municipal area of Milo. Between Mount Fountains and Mount Cirasa (cherry in Sicilian dialect) there is a small access to the lower part of the Ox Valley. The name Fountains comes from a water vein rising from three points of a lava stone fountain located on the edge of a torrent named “Fontanelle Torrent”. The vegetation of the place is characterized by a thick chestnut wood and pomets of a typical apple variety, the “puma cola”, cultivated between 700 and 1500 meters a.s.l.
The district of “Cannon Stone” owes its name to a particular rock that is next to the rural house near the path. Cannon Stone, an empty lava rock cylinder, is formed by the lava cooling around the trunk of a tree that slowly carbonises, leaving time for the lava to consolidate with its typical cannon shape, therefore the name.
The Sartorius Craters, dedicated to the Baron of Waltershausen, originated during the eruption of 1865. The dedication to the scientist is not random but because Sartorius was fortunate to be on the spot during this eruption and described each moments , as he used to do, in a manuscript. It’s a great botanical interest place for the presence of a beautiful “Betula aetnensis” wood, an endemic birch eternal wreck of the last glaciation. The scoria cones are located along a fracture and are colled “buttoniera” because seems the bottons of a shirt. The path seems a botanical garden with the presence of the Sicilian Straggler, the Romice of Etna, graminaceae like Festuca and the Poa or odorous Tanaceto cespi. At the base of the first mountain there are volcanic bombs of metric dimensions giving the name to the plateau, known as “Chianu de Bummi” (Plan of the Bombs in sicilian language). Along the trail you can admire Mount Frumento delle Concazze (2151 m.s.l.m.), the largest eccentric cone of Etna and dating during prehistoric times.
The Citelli Refuge belongs to the municipality of Sant’Alfio (CT) and has its name for the private owner who built it and gave it to the community. It was built during 1935 at an altitude of 1741 meters a.s.l. on the northeastern slope of Etna into the ancient caldera of Mount Concazze. The structure has undergone a recent restoration (2011) through the Etna Park involvement that cited it among its Base Points for excursions (base point number 15) since 1987.
Piano Provenzana is located at an altitude of 1800 m. a.s.l. in the municipality of Linguaglossa on the northern side of Etna Volcano. There is a 4-slope ski resort, which during 2002 was involved during the eruptions that destroyed the tourist area of Piano Provenzana and therefore had to be completely rebuilt. Exactly during the night between 26 and 27 October 2002, a strong seismic swarm began in the Provenzana area, and consequently, the violent flank eruption began, which took away everything that had been built. Different vents are formed along the fracture that had just opened above the tourist zone and in the mid-morning of October 27, the lava flows covered totally the square together souvenir spot and two hotels located there. The eruption will end on 7 November of the same year. However, everything was rebuilt and Plan Provenzana continues to represent a reference point for winter and summer tourism on the highest active volcano in Europe.
There are several lava flow caves (Frost Cave, Snow Cave, Corruccio Cave, Serracozzo Cave, three livels Cave, Palombe Cave, Doves Cave etc.) on the Etna. The surface of the lava channel cools faster by contact with the air and forms a solid crust that does not prevent the lava flowing inside it. At the end of activity, the residual fluid continues its path, leaving empty the lava tube that has been created. Some lava flow caves in the past were used by snowmen for snow conservation. This use was necessary to keep the ice and snow market that saw the Etna protagonist alive. For example, the Snow Cave is depicted by French painter Jean Houel during the ice blocks storage that were transported untill Malta for the production of granites. The use of these snowcaves will be less with the advent of refrigerators and ice-maker machines. With the end of this practice, the figure of the “nivaroli”, the snow-collecting people, and the border-bearers carrying the ice-filled bags on the sludge of the mules carrying the product down to the valley where they were embarked or used for refrigeration and for the preparation of ice creams, granites and sorbets disappeared.