"I have always been fascinated by volcanoes." (Robert B. about the the Grand Tour to Italy's volcanoes in Oct 2016)
I read your excellent article in today's Wall Street Journal this morning.
Last October, my wife Jenean and I did a grand tour of all of Italy's volcanoes through a group called Volcano-Adventures (www.volcanodiscovery.com). We began our two-week trip in Naples at Mt. Vesuvius, followed it up with Campi Flegrei, took a ferry to Stromboli, sailed to the other Aeolean Islands, and ended up at Mt. Etna. Our trip was guided by a volcanologist who explained all the natural phenomena to us. In between, we were treated to excellent restaurants and wine tastings. We also stayed in excellent hotels.
We spent several days in Stromboli. Our hotel was the Villaggio Stromboli, where we were able to look out over the water to Strombolicchio. Midway up the volcano is a restaurant called Osservatorio, where the only lighting is provided by candles, and each eruption of a lava fountain is punctuated by oohs and aahs from the customers just like during Fourth of July fireworks. From that point, my wife ascended the rest of the mountain to the summit crater. I walked back down to the hotel because my knees can no longer handle steep climbs and descents. She spent several hours at the top of the volcano and got some great pictures and videos of the eruptions. Jenean arrived back at the hotel several hours later, and she said that her leg muscles felt like jello.
We also spent some time at the islands of Lipari and Vulcano. Our small boat took us through places in the Tyrrhenian Sea that was bubbling with volcanic gases. The water was like seltzer, but the bubbles smelled like sulfur. The island of Vulcano is very active, with steam vents and mud baths everywhere. Lipari was enjoyable also. It goes without saying that all these places had excellent food. The Aeolian Islands are unknown to most American tourists, and we didn't see very many.
We have many pictures and videos from our trip. We would be happy to share them with you. Stromboli is but one of many volcanoes in Italy. It is relatively easy to hike to the crater of Vesuvius. Even I was able to do it. Of more significance is the city of Pozzouli, which sits atop Campi Flegrei (a.k.a Phlegraean Fields), a supervolcano above which live about two million people. Mt. Etna is the grand finale. In addition to the activity of the volcano itself, the surrounding area is filled with the marks and effects that the volcano has left upon it. You can truly appreciate the massive power of Mother Nature.
This was a bucket-list vacation for me. I have always been fascinated by volcanoes. ...
Keep up the good work." (Robert B., California, about the Grand Tour to Italy's volcanoes in Oct 2016)
Exciting and educational experience
Valle del Bove
Dear Emanuela (and Marco)
We all think that you where both fantastic yesterday and we are all very
great full for this exciting and educational experience you gave us
Personally I owe you both a big thank you for looking after Maria and
Rae when it went a bit downhill, Rae a lot, and Maria definitely learned
that she can enjoy things when they become a bit risky.
Marco, I think that you have helped Alex to reconfirm that Geography and
ultimately the volcano element will be a big part of his education over
the next 3 to 4 years.
Thank you so much for a great day and experience that we will all
treasure for many years.
Thanks for the pictures and thanks again for hosting us in Etna- Etna turned out to be the highlight of our Italian trip Please pass our thanks on to Marco as well
(Valle del Bove)
... it was such an exciting experience for us...
for me the best mountain-experience I have ever had!
Just wanted to say that Reinhard and I loved our Etna Tour and Marco was a great guide.
He really took good care of us and made it very special.
I want to thank you as well for always answering my questions in a very professional manner.
Thanks to your team for helping us make our dream come true.
Lori and Reinhard
"It surpassed everything we were expecting" (Stromboli to Etna tour)
David and I apologize profusely for the delay in sending this thank you note for an amazing and memorable trip last month.
It surpassed everything we were expecting, and much of that was due to you — not just your superb knowledge of the subject matter, but your patience, generosity, and your ability to manage a very diverse group of people so effortlessly.
It was, without a doubt, one of the best adventure trips we have ever taken, and that is saying A LOT. ...
Thank you so very much, Tom, and we hope we will have a chance to take another trip with you soon. Just let us know the destinations, and we’ll do our best to join! (The only place David is not keen on going to is Ethiopia, as it is too close to Somalia and Ethiopians don’t make red wine or cannolis!)
Ingrid — our deepest thanks to you as well for your assistance and help in organizing the trip. Everything was perfect!!! Hope we get a chance to meet you as well.
Take care and speak to you soon! Please give Barbara in Stromboli our best regards, too, would you? Thank you!
Alisha and David"
(Alisha + David (USA) about the Stromboli to Etna tour in Oct 2016)
something really special that we will never forget
Starting the hike to Etna´s summit area (photo - Petra)
Looking across some of Etna´s actively degassing summit craters (photo - Petra)
Already returned to cold Switzerland I would like to thank you for the great excursion we had last Sunday on our tour with our guide Marco Ponte. It was just a perfect day (weather and guide). We know very well hiking in the Alps but the Etna is something really special that we will never forget. Marco explained everything perfectly and was very passionate and knowledgeable about all things volcanoes!
Attached you will find two pictures of our tour.
Mille grazie e salute de
(Petra S. from Switzerland about her private Etna day hike in October 2016)
Inside of a lava channel
Antonio explaining the interior of an effusive vent
thanks again for giving us so many beautiful memories, Antonio was great and we had such a good time with you both.
(Etna Summit Tour)
The best expedition that we have undertaken on any of our journey
We have arrived home again this weekend after an amazing vacation in Sicily...
... I want to thank both you and our amazing guide from the bottom of my hearth for the best expedition that we have undertaken on any of our journeys. We already knew from earlier experience that Etna is breathtaking no matter when or how you visit it, but fridays trip has amazed us beyond what we expected, and touched me personally aswell. The time we spend at the summit of the NE crater, listening to the churning of the lava lake was a moment I wont ever forget, and has made Etna leave a permanent impression on me. It was also a joy having the both of you along, with both being able to meet you in person after all the contact we had, and also because the knowledge and experience that both of you shared about the volcano added a lot of depth to the experience...
Since we visited Etna twice in the last few years we will probably try to visit some different volcanoes in the coming vacations, but I know, I will return.
Again many thanks, and kind regards,
also on behalf of,
Vincent van der Hulst
Daan van der Hulst
Wonderful Etna tour
Walking on a lava channel
Hiking along the rim of Bocca Nuova crater
Once again a big thank you to you and Rosario for the wonderful Etna tour. My son and I we really enjoyed it. It was impressive to see the volcano and we learned a lot - for sure an experience we will not forget.
(Etna Summit Tour)
Looking down into Etna's Bocca Nuova Crater
Just a few meters and we are on top
thank you for preparing und providing the photos. When we are looking at the photos we remember the great experience on the Etna.
Thank you for organizing this event for us.
Regards from Hamburg
(Etna Summit Tour)
On the rim of Bocca Nuova Crater
Hand in hand walking down Etna's Summit Craters.
Walking on a lava channel from the Etna flank eruption 2002-2003
thank you very much for the amazing pictures, you could catch great moments of the tour. We would like to thank you and Rosario for the whole tour, it was an unforgettable experience.
(Etna Summit Tour)
Souvenir Photo on the rim of Bocca Nuova Crater
The rim of Voragine Craer
Rosario and Emanuela during a short break on summit (photo: Tersina Shieh)
Many thanks for the photos. They are great.
We really enjoy the hike with you and Rosario. Please say thank you to him again.
(Etna Summit Tour)
We will never forget it!
On the rim of the North-East Crater
standing embraced and looking down onto the North East Crater
Walking back after an extraordinary experience
I would like to thank you very much for one of the best experiences we have had. The excursion was incredible, we will never forget it. Please thank Rosario on our beharf.
We will highly recomend this tour to our relatives and friends and maybe, why not, come back our selves again to repete the experience!
We are looking foward to seeing the fotos you took, thank you once again for that as well.
(Etna Summit Tour)
Walking down the summit craters
Souvenir photo on the rim of Voragine Crater
grazie per le bellissime foto.
Anche per noi è stato un grande piacere per fare questo cammino con voi.
Il giorno dopo abbiamo incontrato un'altra coppia al nostro hotel
che ci ha detto che volevano sul Etna.
Li abbiamo informati della nostra escursione con voi,
e detto loro che dovrebbero darci il benvenuto.
(Etna Traverse Tour)
One of the most memorable experiences
Group on 26 October 2014
Hi Emanuela and thank you again for your and Rosario's expert guiding on Sunday. I found it one of the most memorable experiences in Sicily, even if my companions struggled. ....
warm regards Monica Pfeffer (Etna Summit Craters Tour)
"Yes,yes, Tom! Please, emails! Don't disappear on us! Congratulations and good luck in new venture. You can't miss. You're the best... And funny too. May this be wonderful New Year for you and yours and Volcano Adventures.
Fondest memories... Many hugs to you,
(Sandra from Washington about a tour to Etna and Stromboli)
"This trip was the most awesome thing we've ever done!" (Stromboli to Etna)
We hope you got back ok. How was that trip up on the last day? Any good views? I was just dying to stay one more day and go back up the mountain again, but it would have been too hard to change the planes at the last minute. We were watching the mountain while waiting for the bus and actually saw a couple of big red explosions. Mount Etna is in today's news here - they are showing videos of it erupting again! We're so lucky to have seen it!
Just wanted to say thank you again for everything - that we are so happy to have met you. This trip was the most awesome thing we've ever done! Saw things that only a relatively few people have ever been able to see, and we'll always remember it (and you, and Bea and Reto).
We'll, have to unpack now and get back to the old routine again. Talk to you soon,
Carolynn and Ronnie
Thanks again! Certainly you can use the comments however you like. I've been telling everyone here about the trip - still can't stop talking about it, LOL!
(Carol & Ronnie, Massachusetts, about the Stromboli to Etna tour)
"Hello Tom: I think I am finally over jet lag after the 30 hours total travel from Rome to Australia. I want to thank you for another superb trip. I've done Vanuatu, Java and now Italy with you and your people in only 14 months (!).
All of the trips have been different and all excellent. They have certainly enabled me to get closer to active volcanoes and their scale, which is exactly what I wanted to do after a lifetime looking mostly at mineral deposits in eroded dead volcanoes. I fell in love with the Mediterranean islands - and, yes, Santorini is definitely on the list!
Dick" (Richard H., Australia, about the Volcanoes of Italy tour)
Tom on Stromboli
Many thanks again for a very memorable trip that has whetted our appetite. Here's your picture on Stromboli. Apologies that it took me so long to get around to sending it.
Robert and Aneta."
(from the Netherlands, Stromboli to Etna trip in May 2013)