3 Days to experience the thrill of the Big Volcano through a route that will explore the caves more fascinating: Cave of Gelo, Cave of the Snow,Cave Palombe and Cave Raspberries.
Day 1: Departure (in Jeep) for Cave of the Snow. The cave is located in the municipality of Sant’Alphio, in c.da “Piano delle Donne”, on the north-east of the volcano, at an altitude of 1545 meters. a.s.l. This is a cave of lava flow whose uniqueness lies in the way it was used in the past. The natural structure of the cave, was amended to transform the gallery into a warehouse for snow (niviera). Niviere in the past were frequent on the volcano, since the sale of snow was a source of income for the people of the place mainly in the form of “granita”.
Day 2: Guided excursion to the Cave of Palombe and Cave Raspberries . The tour starts from “Rifugio Brunek”, following a path that leads to a second refuge, known as “Caserma Pitarrona”. Here you will make a brief stopover between larch pine and oak. Along the path taken by “Caserma Pitarrona”, after about 2 km you will reach the Cave of Palombe . The cave doesn’t offers an easy access because of the mosses, lichens and the constant humidity that make the ground slippery. The interior of the cave is broad, though not very easy because of many collapses, the total length of the cavity is approximately 200 meters. The tour continues along the main path for about 1 km until you will reach the entrance of the Cave Raspberries . The cave among the largest of Etna , in “lava dei Damusi”, is divided into several chambers of various sizes, all communicating with each other. Two inputs allow you to access with discreet security. The cave is about 800 meters long, with a drop of less than 75 meters. At the openings, created in the course of several collapses during the winter months, large amounts of snow resist until the early summer months, when in area bloom the ferns. The Cave is suggestive during the spring, when still resist the stalactites of ice hanging from the ceiling of the cave.
Day 3: Departure by jeep to Randazzo to visit the Cave of Gelo, the volcanic cavity of Etna most known locally and internationally. Its fame is due to the formation of ice from over three hundred years accumulated inside. Until a few decades ago, the cave was known mainly by shepherds who led the cattle to drink. From the Seventies onwards became a destination for thousands of walkers who saw in it a goal to be achieved at least once in their lifetime. The cave, included in the "Zone A" (full reserve) of the Park continues, has the entry site at 2030 m. above sea level, on the North-West of Etna, in the “Sciara del Follone”.