A teaser...this is our first view of Mt. Etna. It is an active volcano and we will go up there!
However, I'll present some other things first. Keep watching this forum.
We stopped at a farm store: Oro d'Etna. These are the grapes that are growing just outside their front door.
I don't know much about growing grapes, but it appears that grapes that growi in the volcanic conditions near Mt. Etna make for good things to eat and drink.
Maybe the grapes are good for something, but Oro d'Etna bottles honey. The bees that pollinate the grapes (and other plants) make honey that is wonderful. They bottle in on-site; and you can watch as that happens. Many different flavors are available.
This shows some of their offerings. As you can see, many jars are open with spoons to use for sampling.
In a separate room, they offered tastings of wine, olive oil and other products.
What makes this room unique is that it is built into the lava from Mt. Etna. Behind that gal at the counter is lava that has been there for many years. Because of the way they built this, the temperature varies by only 4 degrees during the year.
We did manage to spend some money here.
We stopped for a while at the small village of Zafferana Etnea, population about 8,500. It is a popular stop on the way up to Mt. Etna. With an elevation of about 1800 feet, it has been a vacation spot for Sicilians for many years.
The town was founded in 1387 and has managed to survive many eruptions from Mt. Etna.
This is the view from their plaza, looking toward the sea.
We were there early in the day on our way to the volcano. There was not much activity in town due to the time. However, I did locate this fresh produce truck that was doing a good business on the main street in town.
There was such a lack of activity, that these gents had no problem with standing in the street to chat.
That is Church of Maria in background.
I don't know if this is the 'official' seal of the town of Zafferana, but this is above the main entrance to their city hall.
There is a festival of grapes, bottled fruit, mushrooms, honey, wine and chestnuts in October, according to the sign. We were there on November 18.
What I like about this photo is the municipal street sweeper as he interacts with the locals. Not so much the woman, but he is smiling at the youngster. This is also near the Church of Maria.
This is the mid-morning view of the plaza in Zafferana Etnea in Sicily. Although cloudy at the highest peak, Mt. Etna is in the background.
Whenever Mt. Etna erupts, as often happens, much of the dust and ash settle on the town. No lava flows have threaten the town in many years. When active, the glow of lava can be easily viewed from the plaza.
The name of the town, Zafferana Etnea is derived from the locally grown saffron.
Beautiful Photos, lovely town. You were wise to sign up for a cruise in off season, so much a better chance to see what you want to see.
I think the "speed" of that town would suit me quite well. The picture of the lava wall is amazing. I wish someone would put in a garden like the one in your 5th picture around here somewhere. I could spend hours just walking and sitting around in there.
Another view of the 'fast-paced' life in Zafferana.