All Aboard Mount Etna’s Historic Wine Train
The 110-kilometer route, constructed in the late 1800s, travels nearly the complete circumference of the volcano, giving passengers breathtaking views of the precipitous slopes and snowy peaks.
Departing from the coastal town of Riposto, the Circumetnea train turns its back on the sea and begins its slow loop around Mount Etna. Although the route is not strictly speaking a tourist railway, it provides magical vistas of the contrasting characters of Sicily’s landscape. Gazing from the old carriage windows, passengers pass by the lunar landscapes of lava fields, verdant valleys of fig trees and olive groves, and crumbling abandoned villages before finally returning to modern life in the busy urban center of Catania. All the while, Mount Etna is always in sight, often billowing smoke and spouting lava.
During the journey, passengers can alight at the medieval village of Randazzo, the nearest town to the summit of Mount Etna. From its narrow winding streets rises the Gothic spires of the Santa Maria Cathedral, constructed from lava rock. Visitors can explore the three distinct areas of the town where once three different languages were spoken. On Sunday mornings, a busy local market takes place, an ideal place to sample typical products like olives and salami.
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