The Sartorius Mounts are ancient craters that originated during the 1865 lava flow. They owe their name to Sartorius Von Waltershausen, one of the first scientists who tried to catalogue Etna’s eruptions.
The starting point of the path is a few hundreds of metres from the Citelli Refuge. If you leave from Catania, you have to go past Zafferana Etnea, Milo and Fornazzo. Just before the end of Fornazzo, on the left you find a sign for Citelli Refuge. You keep on following the Refuge direction for a few kilometres, until you see the sign of the beginning of the path.
If you go past the bar you’ll find yourself inside a birch wood. This is an endemic species of Etna, and you can only find it in this area of the vulcano. In the distance you can see the Sartorius Craters, main target of our excursion.
At the first fork , you take the climb on the right that takes you straight to the craters. The path is clearly signed with spots of orange varnish and goes up the crater. Along the way you’ll notice that some vegetation has already colonized the sides of the vulcano. At the end of the climb, the view that opens on the valley is simply breath-taking! Down the valley you can observe the sea-coast, pine woods and ancient craters, while up the valley you can see the Sartorius Mounts, and behind them the “Frumento delle Concazze” Mount and the Central Crater. The ground is often red coloured , because of the iron inclusions inside the lava rocks.
We go around the crater (we keep on following the varnish signs) and we reach the O.P. 5 of the old path of the park, dedicated to the observation of the lava flow. We exit the lava flow and we enter a birch wood, also indicated by the O.P. 4 of the old path.
In this part the birch wood is pretty impressive and we are fascinated by these plants that only exist in this area of the world. After the O.P. 3, dedicated to the different life forms that gradually attack the volcanic rocks, you see a sheep-pen. If you go to the left, you go back to the beginning of the path, going past birch trees, volcanic bombs and the other guests of the path.
If you decide to turn right at the sheep-pen, you can lengthen your walk for a few kilometres, going towards BARACCA MOUNT. We went there and we weren’t disappointed by what we saw. We go towards Baracca Mount. We go through the last part of the birch wood, that gives space to a pine wood. At the fork we go on the right. We encounter a fantastic cluster pine tree! It was so big that we couldn’t take a single picture of it, we had to take two pictures and then join them!
We see another fork and we keep on going on the right. A few pines still show the signs of the incisions that were made on them to pick the resin. Our walk continues among flowers, trees and butterflies camouflaged in their environment before we encounter an asphalted road. We walk through it for a few metres, then, on the right, we get back into the path. Now we just have to follow this path until we cross the main path. We go on the left so that we can go back to the starting point.