Excursions for schools

Educational excursions examining the typical geological, botanical and zoological aspects of the areas around Etna, paying particular attention to the relationship between man and the volcano and the delicate balance between developing sustainable anthropological activity and protecting the area.


The Alpine Guides of Etna South Group propose among their various activities a project for school, directed towards school children of every class and age.  The aim of this is to offer to young people an adequate formative opportunity through collaboration with the educational institution and the families.  The mountain is a natural laboratory in which to bring to life, through an integrated programme, the communal aims of human growth and knowledgable, harmonious and constructive relationships with the environment.


Aims of the activities


Knowledge of the relations that exist through the direct observation of the area, through geological and biological realities and human activities, as well as the continual growing influence of man on the environment.  From the renewed and urgent necessity to assume rational and farsighted attitudes in the programming of protective interventions and prevention of geological risks.


Understanding of the general atmospheres and the problematic multidisciplines connected to the natural and earth sciences.  Of the importance of a correct and intelligent management of natural resources.  Of direct and mediated information, critical and discriminating of observations, facts, hypotheses and theories.


Technical index of itineraries


Pietra Cannone Monte Fontane Path

Duration: 3 hours

Height gain/loss: 150m

Maximum altitude; 1,200m above sea level

The environmental characteristics of the site: lava flows from the 1950/51 eruption, 1971 and 1979 which threatened the inhabitants of Fornazzo and Milo.  View of the entire Valle del Bove and craters of the summit.  Dicchi (Non ho la minima idea che cosa significa!), historic lava flows and casts of trees.

Monte Nero degli Zappini Path

Duration: 3 hours

Height gain/loss: 3 hours

Maximum altitude: 1,800m above sea level

Environmental characteristics and peculiarities of the side: lava fields and eruptive displays from various eras, tree essences and endemic plants. A grotto used for the conservation of snow and casts of trees.

Monti Sartorius Path

Duration: 3 hours

Height gain/loss: 120m

Max altitude: 1,770m above sea level

Environmental characteristics of the area: large eruptive displays at Bottoniera (1865 eruption) within the largest beech wood on the whole volcano.  Effusive holes and reo-genetic cavities beanti inside the craters.  Volcanic bombs of notable sizes and projected pyroclastic material.


Monte Zoccolaro Path

Duration: c.3 hours 30 minutes

Height gain/loss: 250m

Maximum altitude: 1,739m above sea level

Environmental characteristics of the site: an itinerary of great interest on the eastern edge of the calder belt of the Valle della Bove. View on the dicchi and the big necks of the western face.  The remains of eruptive displays preceding the actual like the Trifoglietto and the Calanna.  The strips of vegetation are noteworthy.


Grotta Cassone

Duration: 1 hour

Height gain/loss: minima

Total development: c. 200m

Altitude at the entrance: 1,400m above sea level


Environmental characteristics of the site: a tunnel of lava flow originating in the lavas of the 1792 eruption.  Easily accessible thanks to the open spaces. Remelting stalactites, rolls of laval and levels of flow.  The cave is inhabited by small examples of Chiroptera bats.

Schiena dell’Asino (back of the donkey) – Targa Malerba

Duration: 4 hours

Height gain/loss: 4 hours

Maximum altitude: 2,000m above sea level

Environmental characteristics of the site: a high-level mountain itinerary which allows the observation, from an excellent viewpoint, of the craters of the summit which originated in the 2002/2003 eruption.  An internal view of the Valle del Bove and the ancient eruptive centres.  Dry fractures and displacement of slopes which happened during the violent eruptive events of 2001 and 2003.  The strips of vegetation are noteworthy and in particular the volcanic desert.


Eruptive display of 2001

Duration: c. 3 hours 30 minutes

Height gain/loss: 200m

Maximum altitude: 2,100m above sea level

Environmental characteristics: eruptive fractures, flows, lava channels and little cones of scoria.  Presence of ‘anfibolo’ in the lava spewed out.  Reo-genetic cavities in the fractures.  The lavas from the 2003 eruption which are still warm are visible.  The area of theatrical eruption shows the enormous damage done to tourism outlets and ski lifts.