On Saturday we walked the two kilometres to the station mostly in the dark in pleasant (being rugged up) cool weather, to take the 7.30 Rome express for an hour and a half to Giarre-Riposto, north of Catania.
Our 'train day' was focused on taking the narrow gauge Circumetnea railway, which loops around the Etna volcano from Riposto in the north west then south then east to Catania. For the first part of the trip a 40 seat single carriage train; for the second half of the trip a two carriage train.
Here is a collection of these trains at Randazzo, west of Etna, where we stopped 11.30 to 2.30 for lunch.
The train climbs quite a way up from the coastal plane at Riposto. The line runs through the bottom of gardens.
and then, higher up, Etna begins to dominate the landscape.
The line is running through lava flow, with this view from the right side, looking downhill.
Look at the astounding resource of a quarry of volcanic soil for this farm.
The line runs through intensive agriculture, throughout the trip, except where lava is fresh and dominates the surface.
Randazzo is the closest established town to the volcano, but it has been spared any lava flow. So it has lots of fine old buildings. This photo shows how the mountain hangs over the town.
Coming east towards Catania in the afternoon, we passed through Bronte. A not very impressive station sign. Also not now a very impressive town, having been rebuilt fairly roughly. But this is the real original Bronte, with a remarkable past. The Bronte story is in a later posting to the blog.
We end the story of our day out noting that we arrived in Catania on the Circumetnea at 4.40 pm, took the Metro five stops to the central railway station, and came home on the Regionale, an immensely comfortable local train, that had us in Siracusa at 7.45 (delayed by the Roma-Siracusa Intercity running 30 minutes late and having priority on the track. Not only were we very impressed by the Regionale's comfort but also, at Euros 6.10 we saved Euros 2.40 each (which buys 3 x espresso cups) to take it rather than the Intercity train with its bustle, reserved seats and less comfort. Five trains in all!