What a trip! Four road biking friends and I had a marvelous day riding around Mount Etna through the Etna Park on mountain bikes. The Web site only gives you a sketch of the ride, so here's what you should know:
Unless you have a car or stay overnight, you need to catch a 7 am bus from Catania. But Ettore and put guide meet us as we got off the bus. They immediately checked to ensure we had a lunch and water (available in Zafferana).
It is a true "Giro" because you make a complete circuit around Etna (though you do get a ride from 600 meters to 2000 meters). A 50 mile trip didn't seem like a lot but there's significant off-road distance and climbing. About two thirds of the distance was off road.
It took us seven hours to complete. Maybe we weren't great mountain bikers but there are a lot of cinders and tough terrain. We took our time and stopped along the way for pictures and to explore geological features, like a lava tube and caves. Plus we had lunch and stopped for a break once we got back on-road.
The bikes were on very good condition. They fit well, needed only minor adjustments, and had no mechanical failures. Most had hydraulic disk brakes. Helmets were provided in case you didn't bring your own.
We were impressed with the forest, which is occasionally interrupted by lava flows, old and new. And of course, the views are terrific, not only at the start but throughout the ride.
I also need to compliment our guide Angelo, who was very knowledgeable about the forest and plants.
To summarize, it was an excellent trip!
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