Zafferana is nestled on the green eastern slopes of the volcano within Etna’s natural reserve and serves as an ideal base for tourists wishing to explore Etna during the summer and winter. Its strategic position allows visitors to view the stunning panorama of the Calabrian coast and the gulf of Syracuse. Zafferana is becoming a favourite destination not only for Sicilians seeking a holiday home in the fresh mountain air but also for academics interested in Etna as a scientific phenomenon. Nature lovers too are drawn to its raw landscape and the peculiarity of its flora and fauna.
Zafferana Etnea The name Zafferana probably comes from the Arabic word “zaufanah” which refers to the yellow colour of the “Ginestra” (broom shrub) which is typical to this area, its bright colour contrasting vividly against the landscape of lava rock. The origin of the village can be traced back to some time between the twelfth and the fifteenth centuries when a group of Benedictine friars settled in the nearby St Giacomo valley.
The historical centre of Zafferana is characterised by its spacious piazza Umberto I which offers spectacular views of the Ionic coast and leads to the communal gardens where a beautiful circular fountain is surrounded by one hundred year old palm trees.
Near the Piazza is situated the cathedral with its twin bell towers built with white stone typical of the baroque period and contrasting dramatically with the black lava stone steps climbing to its entrance. To the left of the church and rising from the piazza are beautiful “liberty style” steps that lead to the council building. This building was built at the end of the eighteenth century and over its main entrance is placed the symbol of the village which consists of a large eagle in flight holding a piece of grapevine in its talons. Another place to visit in Zafferana is the Communal Park where a pink “liberty style” villa containing the village library can be found surrounded by ancient trees and beautiful magnolias which produce a wonderful perfume.
Adjoined to Zafferana and worth seeing is a small village called Pisano where, during the middle of the nineteenth century, a group of Dominican friars built the so-called “Cisternazza” an octagonal reservoir for agricultural purposes.
Typical products of the area that feature strongly in the local cuisine can be purchased directly from producers or sampled in the local trattorias.