Our ship next stopped in Catania, Sicily.  Our first decision was to hire a taxi to drive us from zero elevation to three-thousand feet and the top of Mount Etna.  We drove passed lemon groves and alongside beautiful cliffs of black basaltic rock to arrive at the peak of the highest active volcano in Europe.  It was somewhat of an eerie feeling to walk along the rims of the craters, exploring the lava fields and witness the stunning wilderness landscape highlighted by streams of solidified lava.  Each rock seemed to tell a story of the age-old volcanic activity and we were left with a unique and unforgettable experience of smoke holes and the spectacular majesty of a great force of nature.

After touring Mount Etna, we asked to be dropped off in the town center and hung out for a bit at Fontana dell Amenano and Piazza del Duomo where the Cathedral di Sant’Agata stands tall, having been rebuilt by the Normans, after being destroyed by an earthquake in 1693. We perused Mercato stoico (the rowdy local fish market), and made our way to Palazzo degli Elefanti where Fontana Elefanti (the elephant fountain) was erected in 1736 and remains the symbol of the city.  We ended up at the ancient Ursino Castle before finding our way back to the ship.

I only spent one day, but Sicily seems cool enough to revisit again, when I can check out the beaches.