volcanoes sicily aeolian islands italy hiking tour

Great hikes, beautiful coastlines, and ancient cultures combine in southern Italy

Our volcano-climbing journey includes hikes on Stromboli—literally a volcano emerging out of the sea—beautiful Panarea, rugged Vulcano, and magnificent Mt. Etna.

Photo by Brian McGilloway

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Volcanoes of Southern Italy

Hiking Mt. Etna and the Aeolian Islands
Repertory Trip: Next Offered September 26-October 6, 2016

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: TBA  
Length: 11 days
Arrive: Naples, Italy
Depart: Catania, Italy
Lodging: 9 nights small inns and hotels, 1 night aboard ferry
Meals: All meals included except 1 lunch and 2 dinners
Activity: Hiking / Trekking
Trip Level: 8 hiking days on moderate to steep trails, 3-8 hours a day on hiking days, altitudes up to 10,000 feet, van support


  • Hike to the summit of Mt. Etna, highest volcano in Europe
  • Summit hikes on the dramatic volcanoes of Stromboli and Vulcano
  • Explore the stunning Aeolian Islands, surrounded by azure seas
  • Taormina, an enchanting hilltown with a preserved Greek theater

Please keep this destination! It's a truly amazing experience. Having three guides aqllowed for each of us to have a unique experience.Pam M.—Lake Forest, IL

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.


We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Departure Notes

Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.

Repertory Trip

This is one of our special Repertory Trips offered every two to five years.  It will be several years before this journey is offered again. Now is the time to go!

Our adventure in Italy’s south—the mezzogiorno—with its palm-fringed bays, shimmering aquamarine seas, seaside villages, and mouth-watering cuisine, is framed by a sublime setting: the dramatic volcano-isles of Stromboli, Vulcano, Lipari, and tiny Panarea, as well as magnificent Mt. Etna. After a hike on the crater rim of Mt. Vesuvius and a visit to ancient Pompeii, we ferry to the Aeolian Islands, believed by the ancient Greeks to be the home of Aeolus, the king of the winds. Our hikes bring us to the summits of Stromboli and Vulcano (from which all volcanoes get their name), while coastal walks on Panarea and Lipari reward us with Roman ruins and vivid views of the blue Mediterranean. The surreal moonscapes of Mt. Etna (10,500'), dominating the Sicilian skyline, are the memorable backdrop for our final hikes. We end our journey in lovely Taormina, with its breathtaking panoramas of sea and sky.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-2
Naples / Pompeii / Overnight Ferry

After gathering in Naples, we head to the archaeological site of Cumae, famed for its evocative Cave of the Cumean Sybil, a mysterious place of long, trapezoidal galleries cut out of solid rock. The next day we hike around the far rim of Mt. Vesuvius, with a look into the abyss of its volcanic caldera, then head to the fascinating remains of legendary Pompeii, engulfed—and preserved—by Vesuvius’ ash. We enjoy a delicious pizza dinner in the city in which it was born, then board the overnight ferry bound for Stromboli in the Aeolian Islands.

Days 3-4
Stromboli Island / Panarea Island / Lipari Island

Our ferry arrives at dramatic Stromboli, a volcano-island that achieved its modern fame when Italian director Roberto Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman filmed Stromboli here in 1949. We take a sunset hike to the summit of its perfect cone—the ideal time to observe fiery displays against the night sky. Taking the hydrofoil to Panarea, we hike along the island’s rugged cliffs, then boat to the sublime island of Lipari.

Days 5-6
Lipari / Vulcano

On Lipari we hike a spectacular coastal path to the old Roman thermal baths at San Calogero, with glorious views of Vulcano Island and other rock formations rising straight out of the blue Aeolian Sea. The next day we ferry to Vulcano, from which all volcanoes get their name, and hike to the top of the volcano itself.

Days 7-8
Sicily / Mt. Etna Hike

Ferrying to the Sicilian mainland, we hike on the north face of Mt. Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe. We view craters of the Monte Pizzillo area, which date from Etna’s 19th century explosion, then end our hike at the “Bocche del 2002,” the mouth of the huge lava flow of 2002. The following day we take a 4WD vehicle up to 9,000 feet, then hike to the summit at 10,500 feet. The views are incredible!

Days 9-11
Alcantara Gorge / Taormina

At the base of Etna, we hike above the spectacular Alcantara Gorge, a 100-foot-deep lava flow that has been water-carved into fantastic formations to create an amazing natural wonder. Our relaxing grand finale finds us in enchanting Taormina. From the town’s spectacular Greek theater, Mt. Etna dominates a view little altered since the theater was built in the 3rd century BC. We depart via Catania on Day 11.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

What the Trip is Like

This trip is Level 4, moderate to strenuous, according to our trip grading system. Our hikes range from three to eight hours in length. Our daily mileage is not long, but some of our ascents and descents are steep, and some of our hiking is on volcanic terrain, so it may be a bit rougher than you expect for such moderate altitudes. The ridges and pockets of lava flows and the soft volcanic ash can make footing tricky at times. This hiking trip is designed for hikers who have at least some experience of mountain hiking and who enjoy hiking over uneven terrain. Sturdy, well-fitted hiking boots are essential on this trip! For your own enjoyment, we recommend you make a special effort to be in good physical condition. Daily brisk walking and/or regular hiking (or using a stair-climbing machine at your gym) are excellent preparatory exercises.

Explanation of Trip Levels


Departures & Leaders

This is one of our special Repertory Trips offered only every two to five years. This journey will not be offered again for several years. Now is the Time to Go!

Sep 26-Oct 6, 2016  Stefano Baldi

Trip Cost

Prices for this trip are being finalized. Contact us and we'll send them to you as soon as they are available. more on pricing

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $500
120 days prior to departure: 20% of trip cost
60 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule

More than 90 days prior to departure: No charge!
90-46 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader and local guides
  • accommodations
  • All meals included except 1 lunch and 2 dinners
  • A glass of wine or beer with dinner
  • Land transportation, transfers to and from airport on Day 1 and Day 11
  • Entrance fees to museums and visitors sites, and sightseeing as noted
  • Ferry and hydrofoil transportation during the trip

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare, internal flights, cost of train travel, transfers for independent arrival or departure, any meals not specified after each itinerary day in the Full Trip Brochure, airport departure taxes, optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff, additional hotel nights that may be necessitated by airline schedule changes or other factors, expenses such as medical immunizations (if any), travel insurance, or passports and visas, and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, and so on).

Arrival & Departure Information

You are responsible for your own transportation arriving to Naples, Italy, and departing from Catania, Italy. For more detailed information, including transfers, please download the Detailed Itinerary.

Please do not purchase your tickets until you are confirmed on the trip and have reviewed your proposed air schedule with our office. Once your tickets have been purchased, please send us a copy of your airline schedule.

Meeting Place:
Naples, Italy
Date: Day 1

Suggested Arrival Airport:
Naples, Italy (airport code NAP)
Suggested flight arrival time:  10:00 am for those arriving Day 1, or anytime one day prior

Taormina, Italy
Date: Day 11

Suggested Airport for Departure:
Catania, Italy (airport code CTA)
Suggested flight departure time: after 11:00 am

Chiaja Hotel de Charme

Chiaja Hotel de Charme

Day 1 (1 night), Naples, Italy

Once the home of the Marchese Lecaldano (and now run by his descendants), this small hotel is located in the center of Naples on a cobblestone ...
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Overnight Public Ferry

Overnight Public Ferry

Day 2 (1 night), Naples-Stromboli, Italy

To get to Stromboli from Naples, we take an overnight public transportation ferry. We reserve the best-available staterooms with private baths; they ...
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La Sirenetta Park Hotel

La Sirenetta Park Hotel

Day 3 (1 night), Stromboli, Italy

This family-run hotel is in an idyllic location, at the edge of the village and right across the street from a black sand beach. Guest rooms are ...
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Grand Hotel Arciduca

Grand Hotel Arciduca

Days 4 to 6 (3 nights), Lipari, Italy

We stay three nights in Lipari, a relatively large town that can get quite lively. Our hotel is located in a quiet neighborhood away from the noise ...
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Shalai Resort

Shalai Resort

Days 7 to 8 (2 nights), Linguaglossa, Italy

This small elegant hotel (just 13 rooms) lies in Linguaglossa, an off the beaten track Sicilian town on the slopes of Mt. Etna. A renovated 19th ...
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Hotel Villa Belvedere

Hotel Villa Belvedere

Days 9 to 10 (2 nights), Taormina, Italy

The Belvedere is an absolutely charming place to stay. It offers the atmosphere of an elegant private villa along with stunning sea views, ...
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Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Stefano Baldi

Stefano Baldi, of Tuscany, has led hiking trips in Europe for us for nearly 15 years. He has spent most of his life living in the beautiful rural countryside of Tuscany, except for a few years in Florence as a student. His love for nature led him to found an agricultural co-op with friends in the 1970s, and a decade later, he started his own farm in the hills north of Florence, where he now lives with his wife and two daughters. "Food is one of my strongest interests. I'm always curious about the cuisine of other places. I think the understanding of a different culture can come through the palate. For this reason, I love cooking and eating and I do both very (too) much." Outside of Tuscany, one of Stefano's favorite places is Sardinia "for its spectacular, wild landscape and deep Mediterranean roots. The genuine traditions kept alive here have a direct link with pagan times and are truly a part of everyday life in Sardinia." When not leading trips for us, Stefano grows organic vegetables, keeps bees, and raises cinta senese, the traditional small boars of the Siena region, now endangered. He spent five years restoring two old houses on his property, one of which is now an "agriturismo" accommodation.

Upcoming Trips:

Corsica and Sardinia, April 7-17, 2015
Great Hikes and Chefs of Northern Italy's Gourmet Trail, May 14-22, 2015
Corsica and Sardinia, May 26-June 5, 2015
Hiking in the Cortina Dolomites, June 26-July 3, 2015
Ultimate Dolomites, July 6-17, 2015
Hiking in the Cortina Dolomites, July 19-26, 2015
Glacier Express, August 14-21, 2015
Corsica and Sardinia, September 15-25, 2015
Great Hikes and Chefs of Northern Italy's Gourmet Trail, October 8-16, 2015
Sardinia: Wild and Blue, May 13-22, 2016
Volcanoes of Southern Italy, September 26-October 6, 2016

Recent Photo Blog Posts

Client Testimonials:

Stefano was fantastic! His love for the area—history, geography, cuisine, and wines was apparent every step of the way. Sandy H., Indianapolis IN Stefano was extremely flexible and sensitive to our interests and needs. Many extras were built in based on our requests. I would do one his trips again. Cecily H., San Carlos, CA
Corsica and Sardinia
Stefano Baldi is a real master working on his "home court," In-depth personal knowledge of the geography, culture, history, cuisine, and wine. An absolutely superb leader. Harvey S., Huntington VT
Corsica and Sardinia
This was our 4th trip with Stefano, a confident, kind humorous man. He enjoys all kinds of hikers. Walter E., Etna, NH
Corsica to Sardina
He’s just a winner—knowledgeable, organized, sensitive to participants needs, charming and fun sense of humor! Angus and Elisabeth R., Norwich, VT
Corsica to Sardina
Stefano Baldi is fantastic. He leads with a good pace. His choice of restaurants and food was superb. Susan and Tony C., Del Mar CA Once again, Stefano ran a trip in exemplary fashion. His love of the area was obvious and he easily generated equal enthusiasm with us. WT should be proud to have such leaders on its staff. Michael W., Stamford, CT
Volcanoes of Southern Italy
Aptly named “El Maestro,” Stefano’s expertise, knowledge, and passion totally infused our experience. Lynne G., New York NY
Corsica & Sardinia
Stefano worked to create experiences for us that penetrated the surfaces of the culture. He infected us with his love of Sardinia, its people, its foods, its landscape. I very much appreciated his love of good food and wine. Carol C., Menlo Park CA
Pagan Festivals of Sardinia
Stefano was a wonderful leader. His contacts with the local Sardinians made the trip very special. He loves this place! His enthusiasm was contagious. Gordon C., Menlo Park CA
Pagan Festivals of Sardinia
It was our third trip with Stefano and we always enjoy his enthusiasm and expertise. Barbara R., San Diego, CA
Great Hikes & Chefs of Northern Italy
Stefano's knowledge of and personal dedication to educating his clients about Corsica and Sardinia (geography, people, culture, food) made the trip a pleasure. Peter C., San Francisco, CA
Corsica and Sardinia
What a pleasure it was to have Stefano as our leader! His love for and passion to show us the best of Corsica and Sardinia was evident throughout the trip. He also cared very much about the well being and enjoyment of each of us and made accommodations based on our requests and needs. Thelma A., Morristown, NJ
Corsica And Sardinia
Stefano was great. Very knowledgeable regarding the area (particularly Sardinia) and you can tell he loves it there. Very professional, flexible, and responsive to differing needs of group members, yet at the same time has a laid back, relaxed demeanor and is very pleasant company. Catherine P., Toronto, ON
Corsica and Sardinia
Stefano did a superb job of handling all the trip details effortlessly...or so it seemed to us! Everything ran very smoothly. His knowledge and love of the area made it feel like we were traveling with "old friends" who truly enjoying sharing their experiences with us! Pat S., North Oaks, MN
Corsica and Sardinia
Stefano is a professional, sensitive, and thoughtful guide. Also, his sense of humor makes him very pleasant company!
Thelma A., Morristown, NJ
Normandy and Brittany
Stefano is passionate about the area and takes great care in making sure guests have a well rounded experience of both Corsica and Sardinia—from food to culture to hiking! I would not hesitate to sign up for a trip he was leading. Michelle J., Irvine, CA
Corsica and Sardinia
Stefano is outstanding on all fronts and an exceptional trip leader. This was my third trip with him, and he continues to impress me with his knowledge of the area, ability to select great restaurants, and attention to detail and good humor. Rob K., Pound Ridge, NY
Ultimate Dolomites
Stefano's passion for the people and culture of Sardinia made the trip exceptional in many ways. Jim H., San Luis Obispo, CA
Pagan Festivals of Sardinia
Stefano is hilarious! Very understated, philosophical sense of humor, great stories about farming in Italy. Bix W., Pebble Beach, CA
Normandy and Brittany
Stefano was charming and had a great dry sense of humor. He answered all our questions about Italian customs, food, and culture and gave us great insights to all. Lisa S., Sacramento, CA
Hiking in the Cortina Dolomites
Stefano was a wonderful addition to the trip. His knowledge of the local flora and fauna on the hikes was a very unexpected bonus. A very wise, experienced, and delightful leader! Julie R., Bainbridge Island, WA
Great Hikes and Chefs of Northern Italy's Gourmet Trail
We appreciated Stefano's deep knowledge of Italian culture, agriculture, and cuisine, and his wry sense of humor. Pam B., Newton Center, MA
Great Hikes and Chefs of Northern Italy's Gourmet Trail
Stefano was superb in every respect. We loved every hike, every hotel, every meal, every joke. We particularly enjoyed the engaging way he interacted with the local island people, and introduced us to their culture and way of life. Jobie S., Trumbull, CT
Corsica and Sardinia
Stefano is a master—knowledgeable, approachable, and flexible. Roy G., Sunriver, OR
Corsica and Sardinia
Stefano is a number one leader. His knowledge of the islands and culture made this trip incredible. He pays attention to details and it was a pleasure having him as the Trip leader. Esther C., Stamford, CT
Corsica and Sardinia
Stefano was really interesting with a great sense of humor, and kind and patient with hikers. He has a vast history and knowledge of the region and of Italy, and is very happy to share. He is a real gem. Mary Elizabeth R., Anchorage, AK
Hiking in the Cortina Dolomites

Client Comments

Please keep this destination! It's a truly amazing experience. Having three guides aqllowed for each of us to have a unique experience. Pam M., Lake Forest, IL We loved this trip and seeing the different types of volcanoes and experiencing the variety of southern Italy, especially through its cuisine. The hike up Stromboli was a special highlight. We fell in love with southern Italy, especially the Aeolian Islands. Carol and Jim B., Kensington, MD
This is a great trip. One high point was watching lava explosions at night on Stromboli. Stunning! Another was walking through Pompeii with our guide bringing it to life in our imaginations. Jamey H., Newton, MA