Having read that the south of Italy is a lot poorer than the Northerners kind of braced us for it, but to be honest what we read was pretty light on to what is the scene. The south feels third world, which reminded me more of Bolivia and Peru more than an alleged 1st world nation. This is seen no better than in Sicily which is a beautiful island scarred by ugly industrial factories dotted all over the island.The beaches were all polluted with so much garbage, it really was quite tragic. A real shame.Our main point for Sicily was to climb an active volcano as Vesuvias although quite a tough little w*** around 60 AD, was not doing a great deal in 2007. All the we got from the former heavy weight was what looked like a smoldering cigarette butt rather than the splurting of lava and masses of smoke that we were looking for. So it was either Mt Etna or Mt Stromboli. Etna was on Sicily so it seemed to be the logical choice. Headed up on a Sunday but got as far as halfway where we could barely see where we were driving poor Naddy, through the snow and hail that was comin a down from the heavens. So mission aborted. Instead decided to head to the Syracuse but before that privilege we needed to negotiate about 80kms of tiny roads and putting our faith in road signs for directions. Not sure who is responsible for putting roadsigns up in Italy, as they obviously do it from the office, mamma's kitchen or deemed medically blind. Wherever or whoever it is, doubt if the person actually uses the road. Another potential reason is that there is a conspiracy with the oil retailing companies and the road sign department, to make you drive 3 times further than what you should. 1 step forward 3 back is the Italian driving mantra. Made it to our campo for the night in darkness after a marathon 80km drive which took almost 3 hours - ridiculous comes to mind. As soon as we pulled up to our pitch i grabbed a cold beer to prevent a monumental melt down.Dragging ona bit so will summarise the remainder of Sicily; Valley of the Temples (more crumbling buildings); Etna attempt #2, mission aborted at the cable car as all and sundry advised us not to walk to the top as it was too cold, windy snowy etc etc; endured a night time walk back to the campsite in the rain (busses decided to stop running) when in Catania passing through the dumping area of mafiosa "hits"; got the welcoming news that England lost in the final of the rugby world cup which brought a smile to my face after being chastised by an English woman the day before - phew dodged a bullet!