We started out in the south-east in the Riserva Naturale di Vendicari which is a coastal reserve for birds, with lots of coves for swimming and snorkeling when it gets to hot.
We then drove north and had a few days around Mt Etna (Europe’s’ most active volcano). We attempted to go to the summit craters from the north but just as we were within 100m or so of the summit (3300m) the clouds came down and it started to hail. So with it not being a good idea to walk towards an active crater in the cloud we had to turn round. But luck should have it that the local volcanologists were leaving too and gave us a lift down, which saved us about a 2 hour walk. The day after we walked round the cone of Mt Etna and round the old vent of Monte Nero to Grotto dei Lamponi which is an old lava tube that is now empty.
After Mt Etna we drove west to the Madonie Mountain range which is the largest range after the summit of Mt Etna, where the peaks range from 1000m to 1900m. We stayed in the village of Petralia Sottana and I then walked up Pizzo Carbonara (1980m) the highest on Sicily after Mt Etna. But it is easier than it sounds as you start from a height of 1600m. The day after we walked near Mt Cervi and timed it well as the weather closed in very quickly.
Finally we drove west again to the north-west of Sicily and walked round the mountain of Monte Cofano, on the coast, which has a lot of rock on it and I wondered if it has been developed in any way. There looked to be good potential for setting up some mountaineering ridges and harder routes around, with hardly any walk in!
We also visited the Reserva Naturale dello Zingaro which is Sicily’s oldest reserve when there were plans to build a coastal road in the area. Even though the area was officially closed due to a bush fire hazard and land slip due to recent heavy rain (not sure how you can have both at the same time) we heard from the locals that it was a case of the Italian government covering themselves but in reality it was fine.