This time, I really didn’t know where to start. Call it not being capable of making a choice, or maybe simply not wanting to have to choose. Altogether, there are 7 of them; let’s enjoy them all.
Alicudi, so silent and isolated that it is almost surreal; perfect for anyone wanting to make peace with the world. Just one mule track, two small shops, a bar, one little hotel and a post office; nothing more. The light of the moon and the stars replaces that of public lighting; in place of the cars, there are donkeys.
Filicudi, secretive and a long way from mass tourism. Extraordinary colours, rabbits, caper bushes and Pecorini Mare – a magical little town between the sea and the mountains.
Panarea, the smallest, oldest and most elegant. A jubilation of white and blue, bougainvillea and villas overlooking the sea. No cars; just little electric taxis. Fashionable and high-society in the summer, totally relaxing in late September.
Salina, made famous by Troisi and The Postman. Wild and incredibly green, it seems to be there waiting for anyone who dreams of reconciling himself with Mother Nature.
Stromboli, the island with the volcano that was the setting for the end of Jules Verne’s novel, Journey to the Centre of the Earth. It is home to the most beautiful of beautiful places, Ginostra, which is only reachable by sea.
Vulcano, the island of sulphur, fumaroles and thermal mud pools. An absolute must is to take a dip in the warm sea, heated by boiling underwater currents, as well as watching the sunset on Filicudi from the Sabbie Nere (black sands) beach.
Lipari, the perfect combination of art and entertainment. It holds within all the colours of the other islands: the white of the pumice, the black of the obsidian, the turquoise of the sea.
I jotted down a sort of list; 10 reasons answering ‘Why should I go to the Aeolian Islands?’:
- To ‘smell’ the south in the fragrance of capers, hibiscus and heather.
- To go snorkelling in the Piscine di Venere (Venus’ pools; Vulcano) and go for a swim at the beaches of Cala Junco (Panarea) and Valle Muria (Lipari).
- To put yourself to the test by climbing the crater on Vulcano and enjoy the sunset from the top.
- To witness the sight of the eruption of Stromboli, from the sea or from the volcano itself: The wait, the red of the lava, the explosions, the perfection of nature there before you. Photo or no photo? Enjoy the moment or experience it through a lens? It’s up to you, but be aware that in order to take home an amazing image of the incandescent lava, yes to shots taken at dusk, dawn or at night. For the rest, long exposure times, tripod and filters to protect your lenses from smoke in the case of close-up shots.
- To fall in love with the archipelago from it’s most beautiful panoramic viewpoints: Timpone del Corvo on Panarea, Quattrocchi on Lipari.
- To taste Alfredo’s granita on Salina, sample the ‘Treccette Orchidee delle Eolie’ at Filippino on Lipari and drink malvasia as if there were no tomorrow. And eat cannoli, any time and anywhere.
- To see the world’s largest collection of theatrical masks at the Archaeological Museum on Lipari.
- To take pictures of the doors. Brightly coloured, wooden, elegant, worn, close to the sea, hidden within the purple-pink of the bougainvillea. Innumerate, infinite, beautiful doors. I lost count of the shots I took. Making interesting through a lens that which 70% of people consider ‘just a door’ isn’t easy; usually, I focus on the colours, looking for contrast between the door and the wall. If there happens to be a noteworthy detail, I capture it by setting my digital camera to a sufficiently long focal length; for the whole subject, I reduce it, to avoid cropping the photo or having to move too far away. The ideal accessory for anyone wanting to take it one step further and improve the image quality is a tilt shift lens, great at giving you the perfect perspective.
- To go in search of little pieces of obsidian to take home because “to give someone a piece of obsidian is to give him a piece of happiness”. To gather up brightly coloured Aeolian bricks on Stromboli.
- To land at the smallest harbour in the world, Ginostra, and think: I could stay here for months and write a book. Inspiration
My name is Roberta; I was born, live and maybe will stay forever in my beloved Puglia. Journalist and travel blogger, in 2010 I founded www.infoturismiamoci.com, a travel and thought journal characterised by a healthy and pungent dose of irony. Lover of travelling off the beaten track, street food and beaches in winter, I would never miss a Robert Capa exhibition, a trip to the Middle East or Brezsny’s horoscope.