"I had heard about the stupendous iridescence of the aurora upon the Ionian Sea, when you contemplate it from Etna's summit...The earthly and marine vastness revealed to our sight stretched as far as Africa, clearly visible, and Greece, as far as you could have guessed. It was one of the supreme moments of my life. Nothing was missing, not the golden fringe of a cloud, nor the eagles..."
Adapted from "Adriano's Memories", Marguerite Yourcenar.
The "Monti Rossi", at Nicolosi (Catania), look just like two quiet hills at about 1000 meters above sea level. They are locally called "The Nicolosi pine wood" and probably they are more suitable for a picnic than for a trekking day. However, we decided to include them into the web site due to their history, as these hills once were the craters that extensively damaged Catania in 1669 with the most disruptive eruption of the last 5000 years. The magma crossed the city, diving into the sea for more than 1 km. The "Ursino" Castle before that eruption was on the sea cost; now it is in the city centre, completely surrounded by that lava flow.
Today, the Monti Rossi are an ideal place for practicing sport and for some walks inside the pine wood nature trail. The path starts on the west craters side, close to the camping entrance.
Look carefully at the maps placed at the beginning, you'll notice a lot of paths crossing the hills; we walked through the path which crosses all the observation points, but in case you go on the wrong way, don't panic, it is not possible to get lost, you'll just walk around the craters at a different altitude.
The first section of the trail leads to a picnic area in very good condition, close to the the observation point describing the "volcanic bombs". They are big pieces of spherical solid magma; their shape is due to the gas that was "wrapped" inside the magma during the eruption.
After the picnic area, at the first fork go left (there are to many junctions, it would be impossible to describe them all) reaching the observation point dedicated to the oaks, naturally grown on this side of the craters. Follow the path until you find the crossroad that bring you "inside" the south crater. You keep walking along this ring path, and at the end of the circle, go left. On the trail you'll find many other observation points, describing flora, fauna and history of the craters; we really suggest you to visit the craters for the details, we just point out the following O.P.:
In winter season these mounts can be covered by the snow; in spring you'll find many flowers with bright colors, you can download the pictures (and the gps/kml track!) in the area reserved to registered users.