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When we arrived we were made to feel at home with a well stocked fridge, full of the basics plus a bit more. We just had to walk out of the back gate to be on the long pebbled beach, which had a gentle slope to it, great for me, not being a strong swimmer. We were perfectly placed to explore Etna and the surrounding villages. We had a great walk round Francavilla di Sicilia, it is a well signed nature trail round the town taking in the castle, if you want to. We had to go back to Catania to do the 'Etna Tour'. Cheaper to self drive, if you have the nerve for the hairpin bends (possibly in the fog as we experienced). Taormina is well worth visiting but touristy, like Etna, best to park on the outskirts by the station for instance (if you don't mind a good walk), plenty of hairpins if you drive into the town.
There is a mini market just a short way north of the flat, well stocked and the shop keeper is very helpful, and a coffee shop that sells cakes just up the road from that. There is a petrol station even closer again.
We really enjoyed our stay and had a wonderful surprise at the end.
We stayed at Maria's property for a week. Booking in was easy and Maria met us at the property at the time we suggested. The apartment is large and very well equipped with everything apart from a kettle. The Air Con is in both bedrooms and the kitchen / living room. There is a large dining table with padded chairs and a 2 seater settee. We had breakfast on the terrace each morning. The views from the terrace are beautiful and the sea, mountains and local church dome are all clearly visible. Mascali is not the wealthiest of neighbourhoods, however, we always felt safe. There are 2 supermarkets locally as well as some local shops and take-aways. The local beach is worth a visit and there are a couple of restaurants at the beach. We ate at Ristorante dell'Agriturismo Pozzo Antico, which was fantastic and about 1 km. from the apartment and mid way to the beach area. It has a 4 course menu with water, wine and coffee included for 25 euros. They also serve pizzas and other food. The quality is exceptional and the staff polite and helpful. Mascali has a mainline rail link to Taormina and Catania. There is a much smaller station in the town where the Circumetnea train stops. We enjoyed our time in Sicily and a car was helpful to get to various attractions, restaurants and for shopping.