The sheer size of the Mt Etna park is breathtaking, reaching the first lookout point- where the ski lifts depart, take you on a 22km drive, crossing old craters. Now many of them are sealed in cold lava, the remaing ones are near the summit, some 3300 vertical meters up, and around three degrees celsius it truly is a distant presence.
The ski lift takes around 20 minutes, leaving you at around 2500 meters, after this embarking onto an Unimog 4×4 bus. Long stretches of dirt roads weave around crevases & smouldering craters, now mostly steam. Mostly harmless.
Arriving at base camp where the guides take you higher, a trek up two new craters. The latest as young as March of this year, it must be large enough to easily hide a Boeing 747.
The ground hot to the touch, it creates some gorgeous photography as the land steams around your feet.
Sadly the highest we were allowed to climb was 2950m, any further and the alpine guides cannot allow your safety, traversing the last 400m in altitude can be done at your own risk, 2 active craters await, with regular lava flows, clouds of sulphur and occasional tremors.
In the day I spent exploring I only made it up five or so craters, with over 300 on Mt Etna. Ample lava caves to explore, it should be on your to-do-list!