28 Sep Piedimonte Etneo, Catania
Packed with gems of architecture and natural scenery of immeasurable beauty, not to
mention authentic Italian wine, this tiny place is a definite “treasure “of Sicily.
From here, it will only take you approximately 30 minutes by car to reach the town of
Taormina and about 45mn to Catania.
Previously the village of Piedimonte Etneo was called “belvedere “meaning “a fine open
view” but it was assigned its new name by decree of the Royal court in 1687.
The Italian words “piedi “,” monte” & “Etneo” all indicate its whereabouts. And so, as
you have guessed, Piedimonte Etneo is a picturesque village with breathtaking views
built at the very foot of Mount Etna, in the municipality of Catania.
If you happen to be here on July 13, note that it is Sant’Ignazio day when the patron
saint of Piedimonte is celebrated with great fanfare. Previously, the village of Piedimonte Etneo was called “belvedere” meaning “a fine open view” but it was assigned its new name by decree of the Royal Court in 1687. The Italian words “piedi, monte and Etneo” all indicate its whereabouts. And so, as you may have guessed, Piedimonte Etneo is a picturesque village with breathtaking views built at the very foot of Mount Etna, in the municipality of Catania. A wonderful way of discovering this area is by the train. The circumetnea circumnavigates Mount Etna – you can hop on and hop off in numerous villages.
If you happen to be here on July 13, note that it is Sant’Ignazio day when the patron saint of Piedimonte is celebrated with great fanfare.
Why you’ll love this place:
- It is off the beaten track with gorgeous landscape and views everywhere you
look. It is a place where farming traditions have survived. A profusion of local products,
that includes citrus fruit, olives, apples, peaches and vines are stilled farmed on the
terraced hills. Hazelnuts and chestnuts are important crops that can be found further up
- When you get tired of the beautiful scenery you can meander down the village
cobblestone streets, with its many charms to find the reminders of once-grand
palaces of a bygone era. As part of the Aristocratic Gravina Cruillas estate, the old city
center Piazza Roma was erected in 1650, starting along Via Forni (“ovens”) and Via
As you wander down, you’ll notice the details of the palazzi and buildings. Most notable
are Mother Church, built between 1711 and 1713, the Church of Sant’Ignazio,
erected in 1689 the Convent of Cappuccini, built by Prince Ferdinando Francesco. Not
to be missed is Santa Maria delle Grazie, a neoclassic beauty built on a basilica plan
with three naves.
- Because of its wine. The wine produced in this area, Etna DOC vintage like
Nerello and Carricante is truly exceptional. Piedimonte Etneo is one of the designated
wine towns on the Mt Etna Trail.
- It’s just a 10 mn drive to Linguaglossa which is the jumping off point for the Etna
Ski Nord resort, where you can go skiing on Mt Etna. You can take other excursions
onto the mountain from here.
- The Alcantara River Park is just a 30mn drive away.
- Circum Etnea, The Narrow-Gauge Train
You can chose to see Mt Etna in a different way, by climbing aboard and riding the rails
of a narrow-gauge train and exploring the area’s wine country, too. The CircumEtna
train is the only one in Sicily of its kind and the ride is a fun way to see the landscapes
and take a trip back in time on an old-style railway.
- Treno dei Vini dell’Etna, The wine train
The Wine Train offers an interesting itinerary that takes you from near sea level up the
slopes of the territory of Etna, Europe’s largest volcano.
You can depart from Riposto or Piedimonte Etneo stations for the ride that takes you to
Randazzo, the so-called ‘ black city’ because it is built of black lava rock. Onboard
guides expert will explain the history, culture and terroir in Italian and English as you go
along. At Randazzo, you will transfer to the Wine Bus that will take you to two of the
areas best wineries for a guided tour, tastings and regional snacks. It’s all timed out
perfectly and then you are returned to the train station for your trip back ‘home’.