Day 8: Mount Etna & Taromina
Favorite Day of the Trip!
This morning we headed to the a c t i v e volcano, Mount Etna, which is also the highest, active volcano in all of Europe. Truth be told, I wasn't sure what to expect when visiting Mount Etna, but when our guide Nancy suggested the day before that we wear layers for our trip I realized what a different atmosphere it would be. As we were driving up, we picked up our guide, Boris, who was a tremendous guide with a wealth of knowledge and has a true love for Etna.
Once we got up to the top we were able to explore and walk through the craters. The temperature was refreshingly cool up there; a nice change from the warm Sicilian sun we had been enjoying. The pictures don't do it justice and this is one where you will just have to visit yourself to realize the magnitude of the volcano and the richness of the soil.My family was absolutely in awe and loved every moment learning about the rich history of Mount Etna.
From Mount Etna to the Benanti Vineyard
After the high of experiencing Mount Etna, we went to the Benanti Winery. Benanti is s a family-owned and run winery that is well known for being a pioneer of fine wine using the lush soil from Mount Etna. They have received many awards for their wine and being recognized as winery of the year.
As my family is a one who loves wine, this was an experience we were all looking forward to. We were greeted with such hospitality by them having glasses of wine ready to welcome us and apperitivos (bruschetta and a fancy toast) for us to enjoy as we learned about the winery from our guide. Our guide shared with us the history and most importantly how Mount Etna is a vital component in the wine they produce.
We then walked up to to see where the grapes were grown and the winery they have is immaculate. Some of the Benanti family lives on the beautiful property we were at. After we had the brief tour of the grounds, we went back to their tasting room where we tried three of their fabulous Mount Etna wines and had a lovely antipasto spread and a decadent meatball. The entire experience was high quality.
While we experienced only one winery, you will find that there are several wineries all around Mount Etna. The reason being is that grapes grow well due to Mount Etna's mineral-rich, fertile volcanic soil. Next time you're looking to try a new bottle of wine, I recommend selecting a Sicilian red wine, even better if it is from Benanti Winery.
Today was also a special day...
Happy Father's Day!
It was a special moment to be able to celebrate the amazing Dad that I have on Father's in Sicily. My Dad has made it a point to give my siblings and I the opportunity to go travel the world because he sees the tremendous value it has on your life when you travel the world and experience new cultures. He has had made such a positive impact on our family's lives and is a guide for us on what type of person to aspire to be by his selflessness and how to live a life well. I feel tremendously lucky to be his daughter.
Cute Fun Fact...
While we were at the Benanti Winery, Jonathan and Julia purchased a bottle of the Lamoremio Brut Rosato specifically to enjoy on their wedding night. Sharing a picture of them from September 3, 2022 in Lake Geneva, WI when they tied the knot and cheersed to being Mr. & Mrs. by drinking a very special bottle of wine.
The day only got better and better, after our perfect day on Mount Etna and sipping wine at Benanti Winery we headed to Taormina where we would stay for two nights. Taormina was my Mom, Dad, Katie, Julia, and Jonathan's favorite place we stayed. When we arrived to Taormina we checked-in to our hotel room and then met Nancy for our orientation walk and then had dinner on our own.