From Catania to Giarre-Riposto, passing through Paternò, Bronte, Maletto, Randazzo, Castiglione, Linguaglossa, Piedimonte Etneo and many other Etnean small towns… The Circumetnea Railway has been active since the end of the 19th century; commuters still use it up to this day to move across the above-mentioned Etnean village. However, also tourists are starting to use this characteristic old-style train; it could be a good option to consider to admire the volcano in its full splendor from anything but a touristic perspective.
As suggested by the name (circum from the Latin “around” and “etnea”, Etnean), this railway connects numerous villages situated all around Etna. In reality, though, locals rarely call it “Circumetnea”; in fact, in 1937 a new set of vehicles (the “littorine”) replaced the old ones. This originated the name litturina, which became the most used to identify this means of transport.
The Circumetnea Railway must also cope with problems that obviously arise when you travel around a volcano: eruptions. In fact, the course of the railway was interrupted and diverted over and over again due to lava flows. For instance, the one of 1911 interrupted the course in Piedimonte Etneo; same did the one of 1923 in the area of Linguaglossa. The worst-case scenario happened in Mascali in 1928: the lava destroyed the city causing also the closure of the railway station.
If this brief introduction to this unusual means of transport has intrigued you, visit the website of the Ferrovia Circumetnea. You can find timetables and routes and plan an unforgettable journey through time around the most active volcano in Europe!
If you are interested in getting to a higher altitude, you can consider our Good Morning Etna or Etna, Wine and Alcantara. Both tours getting at 2000 meters will give you the chance to discover the northern side of Etna with its peculiar vegetation and its magnificent extinct craters. In case you prefer to admire the top of the volcano from a close vicinity, choose our summit area tour; this runs on the southern side and reaches 3000 meters of altitude!
What are you waiting for? Have a look at our tours and choose the one you like the most!