This post is also available in: Italiano
A dive where the water is bluer, between history, adventure and relaxation (Part 4)
A peninsula bathed by six seas. Italy fluctuates between the gentle waves of the Mediterranean Sea that becomes Ligurian, Tyrrhenian, of Sardinia, of Sicily, Ionian and Adriatic. Shades of blue with barely perceptible differences, but well known to those who sail that seas every day; different horizons that mark a limit, but also an opportunity. To constellate this infinity a firmament of small islands, perfect for dream vacations. And after having dreamed in the Tuscan Archipelago, in the Archipelago of Campania, and on the Egadi Islands, we remain in the warm Sicilian waters to enjoy the beauty of the Aeolian Islands.
Italian islands: the seven daughters of Aeolus, bathed by the sea and tempered by the wind
“Five days by sea, discovering one of the most beautiful archipelagos in the world. A handful of shimmering stones, white lapilli, black sands with a heart of fire, scattered alongside the Great Island “. This is how Alexandre Dumas tells about his trip to the Aeolian Islands, an archipelago of seven Sicilian islands and one of the tourist destinations preferred by tourists from all over the world. The seven pearls of the Mediterranean take their name from the legendary god of winds, Aeolus, who lived here together with Auster, Aquilon and Zephri, the winds that in the story of Homerus are given to Ulysses, enclosed in bottles. Transparent sea and paradisiac landscapes. These small Italian islands are so beautiful that they have earned the Unesco World Heritage mark in 2000. A colourful and beautiful puzzle of land emerged in the province of Messina, where history and nature find the perfect balance.
The first inhabitants of Lipari chose to challenge the terrible winds to have free access to the resources of obsidian and pumice stone. Luigi Pirandello recalls that huge expanse of white sand, pumice-stone dust that accumulates in suggestive forms. The “White Beach” is still there, after a tortuous road that runs along red and black mountains. The Medieval Castle, built on the old acropolis of Greek origin, dominates from the high one of the most beautiful Italian islands. It is the heart of the historic center: from here Lipari saw all its invaders pass and was a silent witness to one of the most intense stories of love ever told. On this small Italian island, forged by the strength of 12 volcanoes, the passion broke out between Edda Mussolini, daughter of Duce Benito, confined here in 1944, and Leonida Bongiorno, a young Communist militant. Reading the description that Homerus gives about the island of Sorceress Circe are many who thought that it was precisely Lipari, the largest of the Aeolian Islands. Before returning home, the beloved Ulysses had whispered something to the unfortunate sorceress who hated men: “Trust only with your heart: it will tell you what is the way”. The heart of those who love beauty, in all its forms, knows that this road leads to Lipari.
Only man and nature, in the most primordial and purest contact that exists. The island of the four elements: breeze that gently slaps your face; crystalline waves breaking on the ground, rich in generous resources; and that fire that still burning under Vulcano, the forge of the god Hephaestus, the Terasia (hot land) of Greeks and Romans. The climb to the Great Crater, also called Fossa, still active volcano, fascinates and frightens, but it is certainly an unforgettable experience. Then there are, in order, the Vulcanello, quiescent from 183 BC and the totally inactive volcanoes of Monti Aria and Saraceno. An island that remains etched in the eyes, but especially on the skin: the smell of sulphur is the olfactory mark of one of the most evocative of the smaller Italian islands. The bath in the thermal mud puddle is a must: a wellness path worthy of the best luxury spas, with a totally natural view to accompany your relaxation in the heated sea of the Spiaggia delle Fumarole.
The smallest and oldest of the Aeolian islands, but also the most elegant, exclusive, cozy, luxurious. The destination chosen by internationally renowned VIPs to spend the holidays. Between boat parties and aperitifs at sunset, there is also space for visiting the many islands that surround the island and for excursions in the heart of nature. Three paths lead to the top of the island (Punta Corvo, Ditella and Drautto). Of the old Panarea, land of vines and olive trees, today there are terracing, dry-stone walls and a breathtaking landscape. San Pietro is the inhabited and neuralgic center of the island: hotels, restaurants, boutiques and craft shops alternate with white houses. From the beach of Calcara you can see different phenomena of volcanic nature: the water boils up to 100 ° C by the sea. Passion burns under the soil of this land, passion red as the sand of ‘cala Zimmari’, in a contrasting colour and fascinating with the blue sea, which cannot be bluer.
The black pearl of the Aeolian archipelago. “Iddu” is there, dominating the island from its 926 m, and makes its presence felt every 20 minutes. The frequent eruptions of the great volcano amaze the thousands of tourists who come here from all over the world: it is the charm of Sciara del Fuoco, the lava and lapilli route that starts from the crater and ends straight into the sea. “At Stromboli love is gecko”. This is the slogan of one of the most visited Italian islands. Island of Love, therefore, because many famous lovers met in the streets of the main town: the tormented bond that joined Ingrid Bergman and Roberto Rossellini during the shooting of the film “Stromboli land of God” in 1949 is testified by that unique red house that appears on the horizon. Island of the Geckos, because along the walls of the characteristic town these small lucky reptiles are as family, so much so that they become symbols of the small Italian island in perennial volcanic activity. And if Stromboli has tired you, just jump on a boat and get to Strombolicchio, romantic island that houses an old and impressive lighthouse, or to Ginostra, a small village declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a true oasis of relaxation for all those that have been there at least once.
A cornucopia emerging from the sea full of ferns. Only 250 inhabitants and unspoiled nature. The best way to discover it is by boat, admiring the characteristic rocks of the Elephant and Fortuna, the fara della Canna, the Grotta del Bue Marino and the small islet of Montenassari. If you want to move inland, however, on the promontory of Capo Graziano await you the remains of a prehistoric village, while from the top of Monte Fossa delle Felci or from the viewpoint of Stimpagnato you can witness an unforgettable sunset, the last embrace of the evening between sun and sea.
One of the smallest Italian islands most characteristic of all the Aeolian Islands. A volcanic territory covered with heather, with a single height: Monte Filo D’Arpa. You cannot build on this place that must remain mainly natural: there are no cars, no scooters, or roads that can be travelled. The houses are few and in perfect Aeolian style. To turn the island you need feet ready, or you can ask for help from the friendly donkeys waiting in every corner of the Italian minor island. The port of Alicùdi coincides with the center: it has two grocery stores, a post office, a newsagent and a hotel bar and restaurant. Just enough to survive and enjoy a holiday is pure relaxation, between starry skies and pure landscapes, without any public lighting that disturbs your dreams.
The “green pearl” of the Aeolian islands. Here the vegetation is the host. Two peaks make it one of the smallest Italian islands: “Fossa delle Felci” and “Monte dei Porri”, two extinct volcanoes appearing on the horizon like camel humps. World Heritage Site, the island is divided into three municipalities: Santa Marina, Malfa and Leni. Santa Marina is the island’s main port, the ideal place for the lively social life of Salina. Malfa takes its name from a colony of Amalfi from the past and is an oasis of absolute peace and tranquillity. In Leni everything revolves around the production of wine: the name derives from the Greek lenoi, a container used for pressing grapes. Diving in the sea of Salina is like daydreaming: a dream that contains all the shades of blue. Enchanting beaches are waiting to get rid of all your stress: Punta Scario, Pollara, the black sand beach of Rinella and that of Santa Marina. The natural formations are also splendid, such as Capo Faro, a rocky promontory surmounted by a lighthouse, or Punta Perciato, arch of rock shaped by the wind. Film lovers bind a bittersweet memory to Salina: the island was chosen as a movie set for “Il Postino” and one of the most beautiful Italian islands has given to Massimo Troisi his last unforgettable sunsets.
Before leaving the Aeolian Islands there is one last thing to do: taste the Malvasia delle Lipari, a Doc wine that contains all the flavours and smells of these beautiful lands. It is time to head for the last leg of our journey on the smaller Italian islands, which will take us to discover the secrets of the further land emerged scattered in the Italian seas.
Read also: Italian Islands: the Campano Archipelago
This post is also available in: Italiano