Volcanic craters and San Marco Agriturismo

Etna Travel Blog

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We get back in the jeep and travel to Monti Sartoius, which we enter at 1660 meters above sea level. The area is exceptional from a geological and botanical point of view. The area is filled with volcanic bombs, some of them large, that are balls of lava shot from Etna like a cannon. Also there are unique craters to this area called “Buttoniera” because the five are aligned go from smallest to largest leading away from the center.


The view from here was a bit mystical. The smaller to midsize volcanic craters in black, the brown of the majestic mountains in the distance, the green of the forest of evergreens, and the white clouds hanging low.


The clouds did lift a bit while we were out but, upon climbing the highest of the “bottons” we experienced a change in weather, it was now misting rain with the view of a storm-a coming! Looking back in the distance there was such an odd sight.

There was a lava crater with its black sand, a ring of green trees around the bottom and one single tree with orange-brown leaves. It looked like a painting.


We made our way back to the car. It had been almost an hour and a half and we were all hungry. We took off down the hill on a road that had just been paved 1 ½ years ago. The lava here was still warm. It’s currently at 16 degrees celcius.


We drive for a bit descending and twisting and turning. Then we turn off the main road onto a road that would be much at home in rural Ireland. To say it was narrow would not be enough. It really should only be driven by one car at a time.

There is no room, in my opinion for more than one car, even small European cars. The tall hedges on each side emphasized the narrow width. The meadows and fields we passed were picturesque rural Sicilia. I even saw and photographed a stone house that was almost completely covered with vines and weeds expect for one wall. It looked like a painting, also.


We pull up at the San Marco agritturismo and have before us a field of wine making grapes, still on the vine. It was amazing, the rich black soil, the green leaves, and the purple of the grapes.


Now for lunch, everything we would be eating was from the land, from this farm. We had bruschetta, provolone, and dense corn herb bread. Then we were served homemade pasta with fresh tomato sauce and many spices and herbs.

We had fresh pecorino and parmesan that made the pasta pop with flavor. It was the most simple yet most flavorful pasta dish that I’ve ever had. Everyone else had some lamb and a sausage; I had some olives, a delicious breaded mushroom picked from the forest, and a flavorful potato cake. We were served generous amounts of wine made from their own vineyard. The gentleman serving us said that he stomped the grapes himself. Maybe he did and maybe it just a great story for us. He was wonderful.

During lunch as everyone was discovering a bit about each other. I told what my life is like now and two of the ladies, Rosa and Marielyn asked for my email for photo exchange. I told them of my travbuddy site and they wanted to keep up with my journeys. Rosa told us that when she comes to Amsterdam that she would give us a call. I hope that she does.


We posed for a group picture and then said our thanks to the gentleman who had fed us very well.

I was taking pictures of the lovely farm and the vineyard while everyone else was getting in the jeep. Rob went back to get a picture of the owner and his wife. They were very happy to pose for the picture and the wife even gave Rob kisses. What a great experience we had in the Sicilian countryside.


Driving away from the agriturismo and down the tiny road again, we passed a terraced hillside and a small stone house at the top of it. Paolo told us that this was a typical Sicilian house from this region.

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photo by: zetez