On the eastern coast of Sicily - a short journey from the Strait of Messina - lies Mount Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe.
Through the centuries, its eruptions have shaped the volcano’s slopes, designing unique landscapes of lava and ice. The area is now an enormous natural reserve, which you can visit by wandering its peaceful, naturalistic trails.
Climbing to the top, you can roam its changing topographies: from a fruitful countryside of sweet citrus groves to thick forests, from bare terrain where the perfume of the broom shrub reigns, to the lunar atmosphere lying closer to the crater.
From higher altitudes you can enjoy a spectacular view that extends to the Island of Malta.
If you are lucky enough to see an eruption at night, the sight of rivers of lava slowly flowing down the mountainside is truly astounding.
The Bove Valley is equally-alluring; a huge natural amphitheatre whose walls are carved into deep canyons, its heights can reach up to 1000 m (3,281 ft); then, the ice cave Grotta del Gelo is an imposing volcanic cavity where the only example of a perpetual glacier has formed at this latitude.
Another spot not to miss is the Gole dell'Alcantara, ravines created by centuries of erosion from the cold waters of the Alcantara River.
Etna is the symbol of the region, and a fundamental stop for anyone vacationing here any time of year - if you holiday during winter, when snow decorates the scenery, it becomes an ideal destination for skiing.