In Discovery of the Sicilian Archipelago's Wonders
This marvellous tour reveals the scenic beauties of the Aeolian Island, which were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000, and is a charming trip in the wonderful archipelago of Sicily surrounded by uncontaminated sea, wild nature and anything but soothing volcanoes.Let’s start from the largest island, Lipari, which is also the municipality all the other islands belong to (except Salina). Inhabited since ancient times and characterized by intense volcanic activity, the Aeolian Islands have revealed exceptional archaeological finds. These objects can now be seen at the Museum Archeologico museum located in the Lipari castle, which was built in a rather large bay on the eastern coast between the two inlets of Marina Lunga and Marina Corta (still the best landing places). Make sure to see the Greek acropolis and the cathedral of Norman origin. If you’d like to enjoy nature’s wonders, we recommend a boat ride amidst deep grottos, wonderful bays such as Fico Bay, wild sea stacks and the beaches of Vinci, Valle Muria, Punta della Castagna and Capo Rosso. Next is Panarea, with the islets of Basiluzzo, Spinazzola, Lisca Bianca, Dattilo, Bottaro, Lisca Nera (little of which remains) and the sea stacks of Panarelli and Formiche, which create a minute archipelago worth exploring. The marina is in the district of San Pietro, which has quaint little houses, shops and stores. It’s the smallest and lowest of the Aeolian Islands (421 m asl is its highest point at the Timpone del Corvo), but the oldest of them all and its uncontaminated coast, underwater eruptions and nightlife attract many tourists. From Panarea, head over to nearby Vulcano which, according to Greek myth, was home to the forges of Hephaestus, God of Fire and Metalworking. Several phenomena of volcanic origin can be observed here, from fumaroles to steam on ridges and in the water, and the presence of sulphur mud with highly appreciated therapeutic properties. The attraction of Stromboli is irresistible. It’s home to the most active European volcano, which often has spectacular eruptions that can be admired from the navy observatory at Punta Labronzo.If you’re lucky, you’ll see the Sciara del Fuoco, the charming lava flow that descends into the sea.Make sure to visit San Vincenzo, the village where boats moor and its charming white houses, the village of Ginostra perched on the rock and only accessible on a mule track, and Strombolicchio, a stack on top of which is a large lighthouse. The sea stack was created by one of the oldest volcanic eruptions on the Aeolian Islands. One last interesting fact: Director Roberto Rossellini brought this island and its rare scenery to the attention of the world with his film Stromboli terra di Dio (Stromboli, 1949). An entire day should be dedicated to Salina, the second largest island with the highest mountains in the archipelago, one of which is home to a beautiful fern forest (on Mount Fossa delle Felci) overlooking marvellous beaches such as Pollara beach. Make sure to tour the house where The Postman (Il Postino) with Massimo Troisi was filmed, and to taste famous local granita or water ice. The last legs in our trip reveal the smaller, quainter islands in the archipelago: Alicudi and Filicudi, which are the furthest west in the archipelago and are completely characterized by inactive volcano craters, fabulous wild areas and luxuriant seabeds. Make sure to see the spectacular Bue grotto in Filicudi and the typical albeit unusually-shaped La Canna (about 85 m high) and Scoglio della Fortuna stacks.
Silent, peaceful Alicudi (cars cannot circulate here) is the most uncontaminated island where incredible Mediterranean landscapes are revealed, such as Scoglio della Galera stack.INTERESTING FACTS
- The Aeolian Islands can be reached year-round by hydrofoil or ferry from certain ports in Sicily, Calabria and Campania. Several hydrofoils also provide transportation between the islands. The best way to get around on the islands is by bicycle or scooter (they can be hired everywhere). - A part from the Parco Naturale di Stromboli, no area is protected by special laws, but the charm of this uncontaminated archipelago requires maximum respect for the land and sea.
- As for gastronomy, the protagonist in Aeolian recipes is fish, which is in all dishes: Barbecued fish, spaghetti alla strombolana with capers, pasta with sea urchins, Aeolian caponata or seafood salad and tortino di spatola fish pie. Make sure you try the well-known salad with oranges, lemons and swordfish scented with capers. Don’t forget to try Mulincianeddi chini, which are balls made with aubergines, capers, tomatoes and chilli pepper, and fritters with typical ricotta cheese from Vulcano. Lastly, savour Malvasia from Lipari.DON’T MISS THESE EVENTS!
In Lipari: The International Festival of Folklore with artists from all around the world, the traditional Feast of San Cristoforo in the seaside hamlet of Canneto, and the Feast of San Bartolomeo (patron saint) in August and the most important in the archipelago. It involves processions, street markets and fireworks. In Salina: The Festival of the Caper on the first Sunday in June, and the charming procession of boats in honour of San Gaetano, in the hamlet of Leni on 7 August, surrounded by local songs and light effects.
In Stromboli: celebrations in honour of San Vincenzo in the hamlet of Scari in July.
In Filicudi: The Filicudi tra Miti e Leggende festival in August, with a procession of decorated boats that head out towards the Bue Marino grotto, improvised stalls and several music groups. For more information