Val di Bove. MOUNT .(ETNA. 33. Route. 2S7
spectacle is over and the flood of light destroys the effect pro¬
duced by the shadows. The profound valleys and the precipitous
coast alone remain for a time in obscurity, shaded by the loftier
mountains. As the sun continues to ascend new points become
visible. The spectator stands at the centre of a vast circle of
260 M. in diameter and 480 M. in circumference. Towards the
N.E. the peninsula of Calabria, above which masses of clouds
frequently hover on the N., giving it the appearance of an island.
The Faro of Messina (the town not visible) lies at the feet, the
Neptunian Mts. appear like insignificant hills, the Nebrodi a
degree higher. The Pizzo di Palermo, the highest point of the
Madonia range to the W.N.W. , and the Pizzo of Corleone and
Cammarata to the W. are the only conspicuous points. In win¬
ter, when the atmosphere is unusually clear, the motion of the
waves on the shores of the island is said to be distinguishable.
The coast of Africa, being below the horizon, cannot possibly be
visible, notwithstanding the assurances of the guides. Malta,
however, may be distinguished and it has been asserted by cre¬
dible witnesses that the bay of Taranto and its E. shore are
occasionally recognised. The greater part of the E. coast of the
island is visible, the Lipari islands appear to greet their majestic
sovereign with their columns of smoke, the promontory of Melazzo
extends far into the sea, and numerous other points which cannot
be enumerated are detected.
After a walk round the crater, the traveller descends rapidly
to the Casa Inglese and remounts. In descending, a slight di¬
gression is made towards the E. in order that the abyss of the
Val di Bove may be approached, a black, desolate gulf, 4!/2 M.
in width, bounded on three sides by perpendicular cliffs, 2—
4000 ft. in height (1. Serra delle Concazze , r. Serra del Solfizio)
and open towards the E. only. Geologically this is the most
remarkable portion of .Etna. For most probably its S.W. angle,
the so-called Balzo di Trifoglietto, where the descent is most
profound and precipitous, was the original crater of the moun¬
tain. — The traveller should not omit to direct the guides to
conduct him to the two regular cones whence an eruption in
1852 proceeded. The five formed in 1865 are reached by tra¬
versing the N. side of the Val di Bove, whence they are seen
to the W. of the large and remarkably regular-shaped crater of
Monte Frumento. From the Val di Bove the traveller rides to
the Torre del Filosofo, the traditional observatory of Empedocles,
who is said to have sought a voluntary death in the crater.
According to others it served as a watch-tower in ancient times.
As the building is obviously of Roman construction, it was pos¬
sibly erected on the occasion of the Emperor Hadrian's ascent of
the mountain to witness the sunrise. The descent now re-com-