Soon after my first ever view of Mt. Etna this afternoon, I turned off the road that follows the northern ridge of the Monti Iblei to Sortino, and took a lesser road that winds north out of the mountains, towards the tiny foothill village of Pedagaggi. At this point, it was getting rather dark, and it was well within my standard rough-campsite lookout period of 4:30-5pm daily. I was fortunate enough to find a suitable spot almost immediately after taking the Pedagaggi turnoff: a little farm just next to the road, which had a packed-dirt driveway leading down to the house (with the gate wide open); and a grassy area to the right of the driveway, which was shielded from view of the house by a little hill, and which was also reasonably hidden from the main road. I was also doubly lucky, because — although I didn't know it at the time — there was nothing nearly as good further down the road, when I continued the ride the next morning.
Field near Pedagaggi: nice and secluded.
The hidden location of my camping spot served me well tonight, as the occupants of the farmhouse drove up and down their driveway several times this evening, but were none the wiser as to my being on their property. Not that they needed to know, anyway: after all, what harm was I doing by camping in their field? They weren't using it, anyway; and apart from slightly flattening about 1m2 of grass, I was having precisely zero effect on their land.
The farm's dogs, on the other hand, were another story. When I first wheeled my bike into the property this afternoon, one of the dogs came up to me and started following me; but he seemed friendly enough, and he didn't bark or growl at me. Later, however, this dog returned to my tent with a few of his mates; and several times during the evening (and even once while I was asleep), they came up and did start barking and growling. This worried me a little bit: but the dogs didn't attack me, and they basically kept a discreet distance from me and my tent while I was there. I guess they figured that if a human visitor had managed to get onto the property, and to set up a tent within the fence, then he must have done so with the farmer's consent, or at least with his knowledge.
The other interesting thing about my campsite for this evening, was that it was surrounded by windmills. There weren't any windmills within the farm that I was camped in; but they surrounded us on the hills and ridges all around, and as far as I was aware, they were in operation all night long. It's a good thing that they were a little distance away: because although these modern European turbines are very quiet, they do make a little bit of noise — just a low motorised hum, nothing more. Very cool addition to the landscape, and a great sight to wake up to in the morning.
Windmills near the farm.