Circumetnea Railway in Sicily

This railway line is a nice 110 km circuit which rotates round the volcano, connecting the city of Catania with Riposto. It surely represents one of the best ways to admire the majestic shape of the volcano and the beautiful landscapes surrounding it. The railway is a historic line in function ever since 1898, which is about to undergo a project of modernisation and extension, with the construction of additional stations and the requalification of the original one-rail line, used for diesel trains, into a two-rails line (as it was done with the underground in Catania, managed by the same railway company).

Departure in Catania is from the station of Catania Borgo, served by urban buses and the underground, but it can be easily reached on foot from the central street “via Etnea”, which is on the right side coming from the port.

Due to the tortuous morphology of the itinerary, the complete journey takes 3h 10’, during which you can admire lunar landscapes made of lava rocks, orange plantations, olive trees and fig Opuntia. A string of villages can be met along the itinerary, with the possibility to drop on and off at any time. The railway was once used by farmers to reach to the fields, and today the request stop is still available on board. Each stop can be the starting point for interesting excursions, like the trail departing from the station of Passo Zingaro and winding through pistachio cultivations.

The landscape is rugged and wild, made up of lava fields dating back to various ages, and just after the station of Bronte a spectacular group of lava flows opens to the view. The railway reaches the highest point on the Maletto plateau, from where you can enjoy a fantastic view of the craters lying on the summit. In Randazzo you will change train, and from this moment on the landscape becomes sweeter, with vineyards and orange plantations, with the first villas of the Alcantara valley in sight. The journey terminates in Riposto, back to the sea. If you want to return to Catania you should get off in Giarre, just before the final stop, from where you can take one of the trains along the railway line Messina-Catania.

The choice of the itinerary Catania-Riposto is only an example, whereas passengers can choose to get on and off at any of the stations spread along the line. The railway company also manages the underground service in Catania, although at the moment only a 4 km leg is active, operating on working days from 07:05 am to 20:40 pm every 15′. Six additional bus lines are available, connecting numerous towns and villages around Catania: Adrano-Paternò-Catania; Navetta Etnapless; Piano Tavola-Belpasso; Randazzo-Bronte-Catania; Randazzo-Castiglione-Catania; Lineri-Catania. During summer two more bus lines are added, one connecting Adrano, Paternò and Misterbianco with Plaja di Catania, and the other Randazzo, Linguaglossa and Piedimonte with Riposto.

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