The light, the clear sea air and the wide views over the sea and the rocky islands, with the silhouette of Sicily and the Etna far on the horizon, is what stays in my memory forever.
The Aeolian Islands seem to be the perfect destination for a honeymoon to me. Romantic surroundings, plenty of options to do relaxed day trips to the other islands by boat, and at the same time a place to simply “be”, sit by the shore or at a place on a hill to enjoy the view, take things nice and slow, and spend quality time together. (This will never come true for me, but a girl can dream.)
The Aeolian Islands (Isole Eolie or Isole Lipari) are located north of Sicily. Seven of them are inhabited: Lipari, Vulcano, Salina, Filicudi, Alicudi, Panarea and Stromboli. In addition to these there are some small, uninhabited islands, rocks and cliffs. The islands are of volcanic origin – among them is Stromboli, the most active volcano in Europe.
Lipari is the central island with the largest settlement. It can be reached by ferry from Milazzo, from Naples and Palermo, in summer also from Messina. A network of other ferries connects Lipari with the other islands. Lipari would be the best place to select as base for a longer stay.
We only had one day, a day trip starting from Acireale by coach, then by ferry from Milazzo. Given the short time we only visited Lipari and Vulcano. No fire-spitting Stromboli for us,..
We arrived in Lipari by ferry from Milazzo. I do not remember exactly in which of the two harbours our ferry landed. Marina Corta is the old harbour next to the town and according to my photos it must have been there. There is a second, larger harbour, Marina Lunga, in the next bay behind the castle rock.
The old town is built around Marina Corta. From a steep rock, the castle overlooks and protects harbour and town. The main church is the cathedral of San Bartolommeo.
After a walk round the harbour we went up by bus to the highest summit, an extinct volcano. The crater has been lined with concrete and is used as water reservoir. The views from the road and from the summit are fabulous. You can see all the other Aeolian Islands and the silhouette of Sicily with the Etna on the horizon. The air was clear and the views incredibly fantastic.
The rocks are all volcanic. Pumice, for example for cosmetic purposes, is won in a large open-cut mine. There are also some spots where obsidian, a black volcanic glass, can be found at the surface.
This is the island that all volcanoes in the world owe their name to. Mythology tells that it was the home of the Greek-Roman god Vulcanus, or in Greek Hephaistos, the god of fire and the blacksmiths. The cone-shaped island is the top of a volcano that rouse from the ground of the sea. The crater is not entirely extinct but eruptions are a thing of the past. There is a bit of steam and smoke still, though. There are sulphuric springs of thermal water which are free to swim in. The crater can be climbed. All depends on how much time you have, though – we had the choice to either do a walk on the shore or have a quick jump into the hot spring by the ferry port.
Total view of Lipari seen from Vulcano
Ship moored off Vulcano