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Villa Santa Stefania

Zafferana Etnea, Catania

Shopping and Dining: The small neighborhood of Milo is just over a mile away with a mini-market, butcher shop, pharmacy, three restaurants, wine bar, cafe serving homemade gelato and a bank. Within four miles or 12 minutes by car, choose between the modern town of Santa Venerina or the larger town of Zafferana Etnea for more shopping, supermarket and dining options. Near the Giarre highway exit, a 15 minute drive, is a large supermarket open every day.

Hiking Mt. Etna: There are several ways to explore Europe's highest volcano. For easy to moderate hikers, drive south to the town of Rifugio Sapienza and take a cable car to one of the viewing areas at 6200 feet. Advanced hikers can continue on foot hiking up to a crater at 8500 feet which requires hiring a guide. The hearty hiker can skip the cable car altogether and hike up to the crater from Rifugio Sapienza in five hours. Another option is to approach the volcano from the north by driving 30 minutes to the parking area of Piano Provenzana, where the hiking resembles nature trails through pine and beech covered forests. In the winter, Piano is a ski area with a few downhill and cross country trails.

Nature Trails & Canyoning: A 45 minute drive north leads to Gole dell' Alcantara, a national park with gorges and canyons formed by lava rock. The park offers several trails leading to hidden beaches and waterfalls. One trail begins at the Calatabiano castle. Open year round.

Beaches: Much of the coastline along the northeastern shore is rocky. For sandy beaches, drive 30 minutes to Giardini Naxos or 50 minutes to Playa di Catania (adjacent to the airport). Both are summer resort areas with pay per use beach clubs, free sections of beach, restaurants and cafes.

Not To Be Missed:
- Catania's well known fish market offering a large variety of seafood delivered straight from the boats. La Pescheria takes place every morning along the piers of Via Dusmet. Continue on to the outdoor market in Piazza Carlo Alberto. Both outdoor venues are open daily, except Sunday when an antique market comes to Piazza Alberto.

- The Archaeological Museum in Lentini, an hour's drive, houses artifacts from the archaeological sites in the area documenting the Leontinoi, one of the first Greek colonies in Sicily. The artifacts include pottery, stone and metal ware, sculptures and frescoes from the Copper, Bronze and Iron Ages along with the Hellenistic, late Roman, Byzantine, Arab and Medieval periods.

For Families:
- Kiddies and adults will want to walk over and visit the neighbor's donkey stables. Rides are offered to the little ones in the warmer months.

- A zip line adventure park is 10 minutes away with trails designed for children and adults. They are open daily from mid-June through mid-September, and at other times of the year, they open on the weekends.

- The Etnaland amusement park with theme rides, an acqua park and dinosaur safari is 45 minutes away in Belpasso, west of Catania.

Open Air Markets: Local markets are found in the center of the towns starting at 8 am. They take place on Tuesday in Riposto and Fiumefreddo, on Thursday in Giarre and on Friday in Zafferana Etnea. Catania's market in Piazza Carlo Alberto takes place daily and on Sunday becomes an antique market.



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