Sicily: Majestic Mount Etna – Rick Steves’ Europe Travel Guide – Travel Bite

Sicily: Majestic Mount Etna – Rick Steves’ Europe Travel Guide – Travel Bite


Sicily is small —
about the size of Vermont — and the Autostrada
makes it smaller yet. In just three hours, we’re clear
across the island and heading toward
the highest point in Sicily. At about 11,000 feet,
Mount Etna, Europe’s biggest volcano, towers majestically
above the villages and farmland of the east coast. Ascending dramatic switchbacks,
we pass a buried house, an eerie reminder of recent
lava flows. While there’s a serious
eruption every few years, we should be okay today. There are different ways
to experience the mountain, and we’re taking
the easy route. A gondola sweeps us over
an otherworldly land of lava. At the top of the lift,
we board an all-terrain shuttle. Climbing higher yet up
the rugged track, visitors marvel as views
get ever more dramatic. Finally,
at the end of the road, we hike to the lip
of a vast crater. Hiking the circular rim leaves
us with unforgettable memories. Today, the mountain’s quiet, but small plumes of smoke
and steam remind us that this peaceful perch
can change in a hurry. ♪♪ Geologically speaking, Sicily is
part-Europe and part-Africa. It’s where two tectonic plates, the Eurasian plate
and the African plate, are slowly colliding. That’s why there’s lots of
tremors and volcanic activity. Today, the slopes of Etna are
renowned for their fertile soil and some of the finest
vineyards in Sicily. We’re visiting
the Benanti family estate, getting to know the father
and his twin sons for a taste of this dimension
of the island. -We’re in the slope
of Mount Etna, Europe’s most active volcano,
and actually great wine region. What we have here
is volcanic soil. The soil comes from lava. Eruptions from thousands
of years ago have now become sand
mixed with rocks — and they provide minerality
to our wines. The soil gives the minerality, the altitude keeps
the vines fresh — therefore, wines from Etna
are highly distinctive and they’re known for
their elegance and finesse. Etna, just like the rest
of Sicily, has been producing grapes
for thousands of years, but only in the last
three decades has the quality of Etna wine achieved such great notoriety
and prestige. Wine has been made here
for 200 years. The grapes will be gathered
up there on the top level and be crushed
by the workers’ feet. They will then be crushed a
second time in the central vat, using this very heavy
chestnut tree trunk as a press. -Uh-huh.
-Aided by this very heavy stone and the bar,
which will be turned heavily to press the grapes. The juice will then flow
in here, ferment, and after one year,
you would have wine. But this time, you don’t have
to wait that long. -All right. Thank you. We join our guide Alfio
and Salvino’s twin brother Antonio to taste
some of the family’s wine. So, we all know Italian wine. What about Sicilian wine? It — It feels like it’s the —
the new kid on the block. -Well, uh, a lot of wine
has always been made on Sicily, but again, Sicily was sort of the laid-back
and, uh, somewhat poor region. Uh, but in the last couple
of decades, new generations are more affluent, uh,
and more sophisticated and that is showing
in the wines. -So, as a Sicilian vintner,
uh, would you say, “look out, Tuscany”?
-Yes. You know, uh, the whole world
should keep an eye on what is happening in Sicily. Uh, the beauty of wine
is diversity and mirroring a culture
in a glass. So, we are not trying to be like
somebody else or like some other regions,
we are — we want to show the full
potential of this region and I think
it’s starting to show. -And, Antonio, to that,
I would say… buon lavoro. -Buon lavoro. Grazie, grazie.

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22 Replies to “Sicily: Majestic Mount Etna – Rick Steves’ Europe Travel Guide – Travel Bite”

  1. I love you Europe i love Europe food I love Europe culter Europe country is the world no 1 most expensive and beautiful sweet very very nice wonderfull I love Europe country sir

  2. you say Sicily is about the same size as Vermont in your video but for non-Americans how big is Vermont, but all jokes aside nice energetic videos thanks for your effort your loyal subject

  3. Rick steves is one dimensional program. Many people enjoy but it’s 30 years old style. I like to see more variety with colorful mingle

  4. My wife is Italian, she is determined to take me to Sicily, she raves about the seafood and the little sweet cakes. Says its the best…i swear theres not been a week gone by in years of marriage where at some point she hasnt mentioned Sicily !

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