The lands that surround Catania and Mount Etna in Sicily have been farmed since the Neolithic; indeed, they’re home to the oldest agricultural civilization on the island. The land is so fertile thanks to volcanic soils; vineyards and orchards spread across the lower slopes of the mountain, the highest active volcano in Europe, and the broad plain of Catania to the south.
This part of eastern Sicily was the first to be colonized by the Greeks, and, in the 8th century. B.C., wine was already produced here.
You can discover the local history of wine, and taste it too, on the ‘Etna Wine Route,’ which, on board a historic train and a ‘wine bus,’ takes visitors on a tour of wineries, farms, and restaurants, while admiring changing scenery that alternates between mountain to sea.
The itinerary starts from the slopes of the volcano and proceed into the Etna Park and the Alcantara River Park, traveling aboard an ancient train of the Circumetnea Railway, which runs along the slopes of Etna. From the windows of the train, you can see the Nebrodi mountains, part of the Sicilian Apennines on one side, and the majestic northern slope of the Etna on the other.
At Randazzo, visitors get off the train to board the ‘wine bus’ and start exploring the wineries, with stops at two of them to taste the local wines.
The Etna Wine train departs from the station in Piedimonte Etneo, in the province of Catania. The season opens on April 4th; tickets cost 80 euros and booking is mandatory. https://www.stradadelvinodelletna.it/