At the base of Mt. Etna, Viagrande sits north of Catania. It is near the splendid Greek Theater of Taormina and is a good jumping-off point for visitng the volcano. You can organize Jeep, helicopter or hiking tours of the still-smoking volcano, which is Europe's highest and most active volcano. There is a museum dedicated to Mt. Etna in Viagrande.
Viagrande also offers easy access to the coast to enjoy the crystal-clear waters and beaches that Sicily is famous for. The fabulous Greek ruins of Taormina and Siracusa are both in reach, along with the ceramics center of Caltagirone, known for its fine decorative ceramic pottery since the Magna Grecia era.
Viagrande itself is a bustling town of about 8,000 residents with an air of affluance. There are some nice piazzas and palace-lined streets to enjoy. The Baroque church of San Biagio was built in an oval in the 1600s, while the fanciful church of Santa Maria dell'Idria was erected in the 1700s and anchors the splendid travertine-inlaid Piazza San Mauro, the city's most popular gathering spot.
The Gran Caffe Urna is a Viagrande institution, an historic cafe that has been serving the local population since 1885. Step inside the Old World cafe and enjoy a gelato or one of the pastries that Sicily is famous for.
This area is also known for its wines, grown in the rich volcanic soil with heritage grapes found only here. Try the Etna DOC - its white is made with the Carricante vintage which is only cultivated on Mt. Etna, while the red is made from Negrello, the principle red grape of this part of Sicily.
Explore nearby towns
Acireale is a surprising city on the Etna Coast.
The town of Nicolosi is at the base of Mount Etna and is the gateway for excursions to the famous volcano.
At about 500 meters above sea level, Zafferana Etnea provides a cooler climate during the oppressive heat of summer.
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