5 – Piano dei Grilli e Castello di Nelson


An excursion at the descovering of the west slope of the Park of the Etna, the most naturalistic and rich of breathtaking landscapes.
Initally you cross a lunar landscape made of lava ropes (like pahoehoe), and you come to Rifugio Piano dei Grilli (1200 mt). From here you start in excursion trough a characteristic forest made of Broom of Etna, an endemic plant with curious forms, that adapted to the difficult lava ground. In this tract the path shows a beautiful landscape made of countless ancient volcanic cones, and lava of different epochs, where dominates the massive shape of the volcano in all its glory. Crossed the lava of 1763, you enter the most ancient forest “Centorbi”, with a vegetation of predominance of holm oak, with some vegetational cores made of aspen, Pinus nigra laricio, and Broom of Etna. Walking along volcanic cones of “Tre Frati”, “Sellato” and “Minardo”, you can appreciate the traditional pagghiari, huts in straw used by shepherds and coalmen. After a stop in a forestal refuge, you come back to the shelter “Piano dei Grilli”, where you eat packed lunch.
After lunch, a short walk will conduce us to the visit in a shaft cave transformed in a snow deposit in 17th century.
We move then to the Nelson’s castle for a visit: it’s about a benedectine abbey of 12th century, that has been readapted to a noble house by the Admiral Horatio Nelson, Duke of Bronte. Inside you can appreciate the British arrangements,
with furniture, historic relics and original frames.
In front of the castle, a beautiful British garden.

location: Monte Etna – west face
length: 9 km
altitude min: 1100 mt
altitude max: 1350 mt
total altitude difference: 350 mt
duration (including stops): 5 h
difficulty: medium-easy ;
Typology: runway track, single track on volcanic rock,
Pullman: 40 min

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