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Saturday, June 22, 2024
HomeSicilyCastiglioneGuns & Butter: Mt. Etna, Sicily Travel Guide

Guns & Butter: Mt. Etna, Sicily Travel Guide

Mt Etna Sicily Travel Guide is part of the Punxsutawney TPOL Trip Report.

TPOL’s Guns & Butter Travel Guide is the best way to see as much as you can in as little time as possible. Here’s how it works: A trip is composed of two factors: Labor And Lazy. The opportunity cost (what is given up) for relaxing and being Lazy is gained by being adventurous in the form of Labor and vice versa. The guide includes inefficient activities i.e., tourist traps that should be avoided and aspirational activities that are worth doing but may be impossible to see given the constraints of time and resources.

I have already written the Guns & Butter: Sicily Travel Guide. I thought it would be appropriate, given that I almost made Mt. Etna my home, to write a separate travel guide for this unique place.

Getting There

If you’re coming from Palermo in the north, go to southern Siciliy by train (see Palermo to Catania, Go by Train)

a landscape with a mountain in the background

If you’re arriving from Catania airport in the south, rent a Panda and take the short 1-hour drive.

a white car parked in a parking lot Stay

Do not stay at Casale Poggio del tiglio, better known as agritourism insane asylum (see Agritourism in Sicily: The Insane Asylum Accommodation).

a sign on a stone wall
When I made the reservation, I imagined that it would be like going to dinner at my grandma’s house or my best friend’s house. I thought there would be bottles of wine, more food than I could eat, and a general inquisitiveness among the owners and the guests for one another. Maybe that sort of place exists, but it surely was not at Casale Poggio del tiglio, which is Italian for DO NOT STAY HERE.

Do stay at Il Picciolo Etna, a nice golf resort minutes away from the old town of Castiglione and the wine tasting of Mt. Etna.

a building with flags in front of it


  • Play Golf 

With the possibility of purchasing a villa slightly higher than it was half a day before, I needed to see what Italian country club life was like.

a person swinging a golf clubThe 10th hole, a par 3, is the most magnificent hole on the course because it stares directly at Mt. Etna, an active volcano. I fired off a beauty with my hybrid and watched it sail right at the mountain.

a golf ball on a golf course

a golf ball on a green field

Had it went in, I would’ve taken it as a sign to move to Castiglione, as originally planned (see Nothing to Rent in Tuscany, But Maybe I’ll Buy a House in Italy).


Buy a place here. Although it was fun to go through the process of becoming an Italian homeowner, I should have listened to my Italian who said, “This is a stupid idea.” (see 1 Euro Italian Villa: Would She Be Mine?).

two men standing in front of a building
A lawyer and his foolish client.

The romanticism of owning an Italian villa wore off when I visited the town and saw what was available. Here’s what 40k gets you:

an old stone building with a door open

Read Did TPOL Buy a 1 Euro Italian Villa? for a full recount.


Forget the idea of owning a villa and focus on exploring Castiglione.

a plant with a city in the backgrounda building with cars parked in front of it

a stone building with stone pillars and a stone staircasea table and chairs outside a building with a wall of bottlesa plate of pasta with sauce and parsleya cup of ice cream and a cup of coffee


Continue wine tasting at these places:

  • Etna Nocciole

a man standing next to a large barrel

  • Tornatore 

a bottle of wine next to a glass of wine

  • Barone di Villagrande

a man sitting at a table with wine glasses

  • Gambino Winery

a group of wine glasses and bottles of wine

  • Il Buongustaio

If the vineyards are closed, go to Il Buongustaio, a small deli and wine store. It’s the best.

a man pouring wine into a glass at a table outside

Watch Out

As we were zipping down the mountain, trying to keep up with other Pandas that were driving at higher rates of speed, a man stepped into the middle of the road with a small sign that he raised in the air. We thought it was construction and began to slow down. Stopped, our Panda was approached by two police officers. One asked for our documents and the other stood behind the car. We gave him our American driver licenses and registration. After fifteen minutes he came back to the Panda, handed us our driver licenses and said have a good night (see Mount Etna, Sicily Wine Tour: Fun & Games Until Police Stop).

a car driving on a road


I have been to Mt. Etna twice. While I won’t be living there full time, I would go back for the food and wine.

Mt Etna Sicily Travel Guide is part of the Punxsutawney TPOL Trip Report.


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