More severe slope of the "cousin" side and Nicolosi parallel (1,268 meters) but to be overcome in just 17.1 kilometers: this is the hardest slope of Etna, with an average gradient of 7% and peaks of 18%.
This is the ascent that featured the Giro d'Italia in the Giro 2017 with the victory of Jan Polanc, a "strange" side because it is strongly irregular, with continuous changes in rhythm: 2-300 meter plains and 18th century walls % immediately after.
Here we start out from the basolato of the Etna village, from the beautiful Piazza don Diego Pappalardo which in 2017 was the starting point of the Pedara-Messina stage and at least on this south side the first part will ride under the thick vegetation of a chestnut wood.
Between 1,000 meters and 1,200 meters, the hardest stretch, constant slopes always above 10%, then after an esplanade of about 350 meters here that attacks the second part of the climb, again out of the vegetation, with a steep straight that you see as a sword of Damocles in front of you, all above 10%.
Attention to this sector, never more appropriate name of Salto del Cane could be attributed to this climb: the phenomenon of stray animals in Sicily is unfortunately widespread, but in this forest here with free and wild dogs exaggerates. If you are not afraid of them, looking them straight in the eye and scaring them at your turn, do not attack, it never happened. Otherwise ... choose another side to conquer the Mountain.
From here on, you enter the second part of the climb, again inside the lava flow of 2001, the landscape becomes lunar and the slopes finally constant, always on 8% but without bigger spikes.
At an altitude of 1,800, the Pedara slope enters the last kilometer of the Zafferana side and so the two most arcane sides share the final fatigue.
That of Salto del Cane is the less traveled side, asphalt in very good condition, very few motorcycles climbing, few cars: for those looking for the pleasure of riding in solitude, this is the best choice.
Comune di Ragalna
Comune di Nicolosi
Comune di Pedara
Comune di Zafferana
Comune di Milo
Comune di Linguaglossa
Comune di Sant'Alfio