July 22, 2012 - Hiking Italy’s Volcano’s: IF you’re seeking a memorable walking experience in Italy, climbing a volcano may not be the first thing you think of. And yet a hiking tour of four volcanoes in southern Italy — Mount Vesuvius, Stromboli, Vulcano and Mount Etna — is an experience that will remain vivid long after the smell of sulfur has faded.
The Big One
Beside being extremely active, Etna, at almost 11,000 feet, is tall enough to be at home in the Alps. Given its height, the weather is always changing and there is likely to be snow into June and patches into August. Even if you are not planning on any serious hiking, it is worth going up Etna as far as you can on the bus or by car since there are several small craters to explore near the parking lot. Pictured above, Mount Etna during an eruption in April.
The Urban One
Vesuvius, about six miles east of Naples, is famous for having wiped out Pompeii and Herculaneum in 79 A.D. A trip to the ruins of one of the two towns is an excellent way to witness the power of this slumbering 4,200-foot volcano, which last erupted in 1944. Pictured above, Mount Vesuvius from nearby Naples.
The Hyperactive One
Don’t let the easy climb up Vesuvius make you overconfident about your next hike. Getting to the top of 3,030-foot Stromboli is much more difficult. Hikers must be with a guided group, and adding to the theatrics of the regular eruptions that occur every 15 to 20 minutes, guides time their departure from town to ensure their groups are at the top for sunset. That means a 90-minute scamper back down with only the moon and flashlights to light the way. Pictured above, view of Stromboli (at left in distance) from the island of Panarea.
The Overlooked One
An overpowering smell of sulfur is likely to hit you even before you get off the ferry, reminding you there is a reason this island is called Vulcano. Not that you will need any reminding as the 1,640-foot volcano looms over the port, continually shooting up steam and other gases. Pictured above, Vulcano, in 2007. Follow the link below for the full article.
The Master of Disaster