Alive with restless mountains and intriguing landscapes, Sicily is a budding geographer’s dream. Be met by a skyline dominated by the smoking hulk of Mount Etna, where you’re invited to get up close to its raw red craters and explore its fiery collection of lava flows, volcanic rocks and parasitic cones.
Last month the Education Team’s Ian journeyed to Sicily with Princethorpe College to see what there is to offer for groups in this stunning part of the world. We speak to Ian about his highlights and why it’s the perfect location for a geography trip.
A true Italian experience
Stepping off the plane, we were met by sunshine and lovely warm temperatures for our first day. First stop was the nearby town of Taormina where we were quickly immersed into the Italian experience with a pizza making session. We received a starter of fresh bruschetta before making and eating our own pizzas, choosing whichever toppings we wanted and watching it cook in the fire oven… it tasted amazing!
Next up was a visit to Giardini Naxos for a quick stop at the beach, and half an hour for the students to run around before travelling to the Hotel Solemar in Sant’Alessio Siculo. Situated on the coast, the hotel offers incredible sea views.
Reaching the summit of Etna
For our first full day we journeyed up Etna, making a pit stop on the way to the Colata Lavica Lava Field for an introduction to the volcano. We then had the exhilarating experience of travelling in 4×4 jeeps, watching the sunshine be replaced with clouds and the temperature drop as we climbed to the summit!
Once the jeep ride was completed, we were met by our guide beneath the main crater where we witnessed craters, fumaroles and evidence of eruptions. The clouds may have stopped the views but they didn’t dampen the amazing experience of being up Etna!
Ice cream by the sea
We descended the mountain by jeep and cable car, before making the journey to Alcantara Gorge to be greeted with a short video on the history of the gorge and a guided tour. Did you know the Alcantara River Gorge is 150m-long with 50m-high walls? After taking a lift down to the foot of this geographical gem, we headed back to the hotel and finished the day with some ice cream by the sea.
A sight to behold
For our final full day, it was an early start as we were going to island of Vulcano. After a 45 minute ferry journey, we were met by our guide Pietro for the trek to the crater rim of Gran Cratere. Considering the cloud which surround Etna the previous day, this was the complete opposite. We were able to see for miles, enjoying views of the island of Stromboli in the distance – just incredible. Finishing off with a trip to the mud puddles and a relaxing hour at the beach was a great way to end the day and indeed the trip.
Jam-packed with fun and adventure
It was such a shame to leave Sicily on our final morning, but it was an amazing and unforgettable experience! Although we were only there for 3 nights, the trip was jam-packed with interesting and fun visits and I definitely want to go back already… hopefully Princethorpe College do too!