The Etna - Rifugio Sapienza is situated in Sicily
Starting from Zafferana,
the Etna - Rifugio Sapienza ascent is 18 km long. Over this distance, you climb 1305 heightmeters.
The average percentage thus is 7.2 %.
Stories, information and comments from Etna - Rifugio Sapienza climbers
Story by Joseph Hole from Cheltenham, United Kingdom, submitted on 05/02/2013
The east side of Etna is quite built up and the narrow roads can be busy. Best to ride to this early in the morning or on a Sunday. It''s a stunning road and quite smooth for Sicilian standards. It''s raised over recent formed lava (maybe 2001?). If Etna is active there can be black volcanic sand covering the road, tricky for ascending an lethal for descending but there is a certain rush from riding up a smoking, rumbling volcano!
My personal climb rating:
Story by Gerard Murre from Haarlem, Netherlands, submitted on 18/09/2007
When starting from sea-level the Etna is probably the highest climb you can make in Europe on a tarmac road; 1921 meters. I left at zero meters in Giordina Naxos, about 40 km from Rifugio Sapienza and it took me about 4.30 hours. The shortest way from sea to the refugio is about 30 km. The coastal road until Zafferana are rather busy. After Zafferana traffic is low. The road is very good tarmac and winds beautifull through the woods and on higher levels along frozen lava streams. Take enough water for there are no restaurants or hardly any buildings on the way. The risk to be destroyed by lava is to big. Refugio Sapienza was partly destroyed a few years ago. The tarmac ends at the refugio. There is a dirt road going to about 2800 meters. Probably you can do that with a mountainbike. But it will be very hard cause lava sand is like the soft sand on the beach. There is a cable to take you to 2600 meters. Maybe you can take your bike up and downhill back? Cycling the Etna is one of the very few possibilities to climb a working volcano.