A Fiat Panda 4x4... up Mount Etna
An epic TG mag adventure from the past 20 years: we drive the Panda up an erupting volcano...
Posted: 15 Oct 2013
There are, of course, easier ways to get up Mount Etna than Panda-based transport. There's a cable car that can take you about two-thirds of the way - though you still have to hike the last bit to get to the very top - or off-road buses that can deliver you to a point at the base of the biggest caldera. The ‘buses' are serious bits of off-road kit, based as they are on the Mercedes Unimog, and the Fiat seems comprehensively outgunned parked next to one, which, again, doesn't augur particularly cheerfully.
It's not too long before we realise why the Etna taxi service needs such hardcore rigs. The ‘road' up the side of Etna is basically a track bulldozed along the line of least resistance. So it meanders like an old man's conversation: a series of switchbacks here and there, a long straight bit, a few sweeping curves and a smattering of spurs that lead to vertiginous dead ends.