The central craters on mount Etna: :
- "La voragine" (the Abyss)
- "La bocca nuova" (the new crater)
- North-east crater
- South-east crater
- New South-east crater, also known as Pit-Crater, currently the most active
You can easily recognize them on wikimapia; many people would look at them closely, probably just a few manage to do it.
First of all, there are real security concerns: during mount Etna eruptions (or even just during strong gas ejections), the access to central craters is forbidden by prefect order, usually is possible to get the "safe" altitude for tourists excursions: 2920 meters at Torre del Filosofo on south side, 2990 meters at Punta Lucia, on north side, quite far away from the peak at about 3350 meters above sea level.
But even when Mount Etna seems to be sleepy, I think many of you would be afraid to go close to the enormous central craters. Eruption are usually preceded by tremors and other signs, but sometimes they happens suddenly. However, the few incidents on Mount Etna had been caused only by clear tourists imprudences.
The "tourist" ascent towards central craters can be done in two ways:
- By cableway and off-road vehicles from Rifugio Sapienza, South Etna side (Nicolosi) - ticket approximately 60 euros (details here)
- By off-road vehicles from Piano Provenzana, Etna North side (Linguaglossa) - ticket approximately 60 euros (details here)
Usually, these excursions include a really basic tour at the craters close to the off-roads stop areas; in my view, the expense is really high, comparing to what you will see during the tour. So, I suggest the "tourist" ascent only to lazy or incurious people. For all the people able to walk, headed to spend less money and see more about Mount Etna, we are going to show some different path with varius difficulty level, all of them landing at the safe tourist area. When you'll be there, according to the situation you'll evaluate wheter will be possible to go further up towards the peak.
Here we are with our proposals: costs refers to March 2012
- Montagnola - Torre del Filosofo - Crateri Silvestri, starting by cableway from "rifugio Sapienza", ticket 24 euros cableway one way, difference in height 400 meters ascending and 900 meters descending - Difficulty: medium
- Schiena dell'asino - Montagnola - Torre del Filosofo - Crateri Silvestri, starting from the "Schiena dell'Asino" nature trail, no tickets, difference in height 1000 ascending and descending - Difficulty: high
- Piano Provenzana - Punta Lucia - Piano Provenzana, starting from Piano Provenzana, no tickets, difference in height 1200 ascending - Difficulty: very high (to be tracked)
Have fun with mount Etna!