Considering I ran all over mount Etna and through both Ragusa and Vittoria until I injured my left Achilles and couldn't run any more, I feel like I solidly achieved my goal of pushing my limits and getting as deep an experience of wine making on Etna and in Vittoria as I possibly could given the time I had. I'll add lots more photos once I have access to a computer again but here's a quick run down:
Day 1 I arrived, ran out of the airport, couldn't make my GPS work and ended up some where lost west of Catania where a nice Italian lady basically told me "you can't get there from here" when it was too dark to run I took a cab to Nicolosi.
Day 2. I got up early and started running in the direction I thought is should go. Getting out of town proved tricky but the road running up over the mountain, looking out at the Mediterranean was incredible. Eventually, 30+ miles later and after a bonus run up Etna I made it to Solicchiata, met up with Frank, toured his winery, tasted all his amphora wines, and had dinner.
Day 3. I ran up to Passopisciaro and got to see a lot more of the north end of the valley in the process. Vincenzo, the manager, took me all over their vineyards, told me more about Etna's unique climate, and then I had lunch with Frank and Vincenzo and we drank all kinds of crazy wines. This was when Frank convinced me to change my plans and spend more time on Etna instead of running south through central Sicily. Afterwards Frank and I met the owners of Clos Mugador back at his winery for another tour and then dinner.
Day 4. I ran north west through Passopisciaro and Randazzo to see more mountain. I ran back and had time to run back partway up Etna to hunt for the Barbabechi vineyard before I caught a bus down to Catania.
Day 5. It didn't look like there was good direct bus service to Vittoria so I caught a bus to Ragusa and then ran to Vittoria. The land was so different from Etna and there was lots of livestock. Google maps took me through some crazy washed out trails over the mountains and I tangled with more dogs in the hills. I made it to Vittoria and discovered it was a very pedestrian unfriendly place. But I had pizza at a bar and drank a bottle of Occhipinti Il Frappato. It was my birthday.
Day 6. I started running at about 8 am and managed to cover about 20 miles looing around Vittoria before my noon appointment with Arriana Occhipinti. So many dogs! Arriana was great. She had food poisoning but once we started tasting wines from the tanks she woke began to feel better. We talked a lot and cooked a nice lunch with Damiano. I was quite impressed with her relaxed determination. Then she drove me over to COS so I could check that winery out as well and meet her uncle Giusto. COS was also great and their winery and amphora and passion was impressive. This was also when my left ankle stopped working.
Day 7. When I woke up it was apparent that I had done something to my left Achilles and that my running was over for this trip. I eventually made it back to Catania by bus and started exploring the city.
Day 8. I walked nearly 20 miles in an attempt to see everything in Catania. More pictures to come of the Elephant fountain, Bellini gardens, impressive out door cafés, and the Duomo.
Looking out over the Cellini gardens in central Catania