Monti Sartorius (Sartorius Mountains) is found on the northeast side of Mount Etna in Sicily. Located near Rifugio Citelli, you can find Sentiero Natura Monti Sartorius, which is the main trail that explores Monti Sartorius. Other than hiking to the summit craters of Mount Etna, hiking around the seven craters of Monti Sartorius is probably the next most popular hiking option in the area. In this guide, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about hiking at Monti Sartorius on Mount Etna.
We hope you find this guide helpful for planning your trip to Sicily, Italy. Of course, you’ll have to hike to the summit of Mount Etna before or after doing Sentiero Natura Monti Sartorius. You can read our Mount Etna hiking guide here. For other about other great hikes in Sicily, read our Sicily hiking guide.
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Monti Sartorius is the name given to the group of seven craters found on the northeast side of Mount Etna near Rifugio Citelli. Interestingly, the group of mountains are named after Wolfgang Sartorius von Waltershausen (1809–1876), who was a German geologist and physicist. Certainly, the best way to explore these craters is by hiking along Sentiero Natura Monti Sartorius. So, let’s look at your hiking options below.
Sentiero Natura Monti Sartorius
Sentiero Natura Monti Sartorius, AKA Sentiero Monti Sartorius, is the name of the main trail that explores these seven impressive craters. You’ll find there are different route variations to choose from when scoping out the craters. Traditionally, a circular route, known as the Monti Sartorius Loop Walk, circles the seven craters without actually summiting any of the craters in particular. Personally, Beck and I did this circular walk.
Although, it’s quite possible to summit some of the seven craters of Monti Sartorius. Part of the Sentiero Natura Monti Sartorius trail actually follows along the spine of the craters. So, this is also a popular option. If you’re keen on this option, of following, more or less, directly over the spine of the craters, then follow this map.
If you’re keen on a longer walk, then consider the extended walk to Piano Provenzana-Linguaglossa, which is actually the trailhead for hiking to the northeast crater of Mount Etna. Here’s a map for this walk. Additionally, extending the walk to Monte Baracca is another trail option. You’ll find a map for this walk here.
Below, we’ll focus on our experience of doing the Monti Sartorius circular walk.
Monti Sartorius Loop Walk Stats and Map
- Type: Loop
- Distance: 3.25km
- Time: 1–1.5 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 90m
- Trailhead: Street-side parking near Rifugio Citelli
- Difficulty: Easy
- Map: Wikiloc
The distance of the Monti Sartorius loop walk is approx. 3.25km. Of course, the distance of the walk will depend on exactly which route you choose.
Here’s the elevation profile for the Monti Sartorius loop walk, without especially summiting any of the craters.
Trekking Monti Sartorius: Trail Description and Photos
You’ll find a small lay-by, with enough space for around 3–4 vehicles, at the trailhead for Sentiero Natura Monti Sartorius. Otherwise, if you’re staying at the nearby Rifugio Citelli, it’s easy enough to start the hike from there. The trail begins in a serene forest. Soon, you’ll reach a signpost for Monti Sartorius, directing you to turn right. By following this trail, you’ll begin to follow the Monti Sartorius loop walk in an anti-clockwise direction. After passing near one of the crater summits, you’ll continue along the 1865 lava fields. Indeed, it was from an eruption of Mount Etna, in 1865, that Monti Sartorius was formed.
With snow covering most of the trail, Beck and I couldn’t see as much of the lava fields that are usually on display! Of course, the snow created a beautiful ambience during the walk. Although, it did make trail navigation trickier than we’d expected. After passing Monte Baracca, to our right, we continued towards Rifugio Forestale SES. Along the way, you’ll see many epic volcanic rocks and formations! As you near the rifugio, you’ll have an improved view of the immense Mount Etna. Eventually, you’ll re-join the initial outbound trail, steering you back to the trailhead.
How to Get There
The easiest and quickest way to get to Monti Sartorius on Mount Etna is to drive there yourself. You’ll find free street-side parking at the trailhead here. If you don’t have your own vehicle, then we recommend hiring a car using Rentalcars.com. You’ll find a wide variety of cars on Rental Cars, which are very easy to book online.
Personally, Beck and I picked up our car hire from Catania International Airport. For an automatic car, we only paid around €7 ($7USD) per day! Of course, with all car hire companies in Sicily, and Italy, make sure you’re aware of the rules and conditions of the car hire. This means, you won’t get hit with any unexpected fees from the car hire companies, which are usually all too eager to unsuspectingly charge you for something or other.
As far as we’re aware, public transportation doesn’t go to the Monti Sartorius. So, you’ll need a car for this hiking adventure!
Where to Stay
Most people visiting Mount Etna and the surrounding areas will stay in Catania. But, if you’re looking to stay closer to Mount Etna and Monti Sartorius, then consider these options below.
Rifugio Citelli is a highly-rated mountain lodge, located in Etna North. Given its closeness to Monti Sartorius, it’s hard to beat Rifugio Citelli in terms of convenience. For those exploring more of Etna North and the northeast crater (as opposed to the more popularly visited southeast crater), Rifugio Citelli makes for the perfect base. Guests often rave about the meals on offer at the lodge and the friendly staff.
If you’re looking for a wider range of accommodation options, then consider staying in Taormina, which is located just north of Mount Etna. Check out booking.com to suss out the best accommodation for you.
Beck and I actually stayed at Villa Vulcano in Zafferana Etnea, which is south of Mount Etna. Indeed, this lodge is a fantastic option for those wanting a budget stay near Mount Etna. Although, it felt more like a luxurious stay (at a super reasonable price), given the stellar location, facilities and staff. To reach Monti Sartorius from Zafferana Etnea, you’re looking at around an approx. 45-minute drive.
These are our hiking gear essentials for this walk.
- Merrell Moab Mid Gore-Tex Hiking Boots: these hiking boots are super comfortable and lightweight.
- The North Face Venture Jacket: a fantastic windproof/waterproof jacket.
- Osprey Skarab 30L Day Backpack: a great backpack for hiking, which has plenty of space to store your gear.
- The North Face TKA Glacier Fleece Jacket: an excellent warmth:weight ratio fleece jacket that’ll help keep you warm.
- Columbia Convertible Trousers: a value for money pair of water-resistant convertible trousers.
For a longer hiking gear list, read our 66 Travel Items You Must Travel With. For a list of everything else you’d need for travelling, read our Packing Checklist.
- Monti Sartorius weather: like all mountain weather, the weather at Monti Sartorius can be unpredictable. Because these mountains are on the north side of Mount Etna, you can expect a dusting of snow, well into April and even into early May. Personally, when Beck and I visited in late March, most of the trail was covered in snow. So, be prepared for these sorts of conditions if you visit during the off-season.
- Visit Mount Etna: it probably goes without saying, but you should definitely prioritise hiking Mount Etna over doing Sentiero Natura Monti Sartorius. Personally, we hiked around the seven craters after doing a Mount Etna hiking tour.
- Consider an organised tour: GetYourGuide offer fantastic hiking tours in Sicily, such as this small guided group tour of Monti Sartorius.
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