Aeolian Islands have been a very good discovery.

It’s years that we concentrate our holidays only abroad and I’ve realized that I don’t know a lot of places in Italy, especially, islands, since I’ve spent lots of summers in my beach house in Lampedusa.

For Giacomo’s 40’s, my husband, I wanted a sea place of sea that could be fascinated, I had in mind but I also wanted a place where we weren’t been.

Isole Eolie

My choice was Panarea, an Aeolian Island, the smallest, that in winter counts 300 citizens.

My plans were clear: to have a terrace to wake up to in the morning and look at the sea, go sailing and know the other islands and do appetizers in terraces where we could see the sunsets that touches the heart.

And so it was.

Obviously it was the 3 of us, our holidays are always with Luna. To us it’s so important that she could travel and know a lot of new places, because the experience a travel gives you it’s incredible, even more for a kid.

Leaving from Rome the only con we found is the travel. It’s long, these islands are bad connected. Even if you take the plane to Catania and then the transfer for Milazzo and then the hydrofoil, or the train Rome-Naples and then ship for 5 hours… however it takes you half a day and more to move. But once you’re there it’s incredible.

Panarea is a pearl. All white, very cured, you don’t know whether you’re in Italy or in some island in Greece, which I know pretty well.

It’s so small, as I wanted it, you move on foot and the food is great.

We’ve been there for a week and we went around the other islands, all expect Filicudi and Alicudi because 2 days the sea didn’t allow to reach them, since they’re further than Panarea.

The island I liked the least was Vulcano. Once you arrive you immediately breathe a strong smell of Sulphur, due to the geyser there that leaked from the ground and nearby there are some places to do a mud bath with therapeutic properties.

Beaches are black, including a popular one called The Black Beach. There’s an active Vulcan but it only emits fumaroles and it’s better to approach them with expert guides because of the toxicity of the issued gases.

It didn’t particularly fascinated me so we stayed there for half a day.

The other island we visited was Lipari.

First of all, I need to say it’s the biggest Aeolian Islands and It’s very nice, the part we visited first was the acropolis, also called the Castle area.

It’s the oldest part of Lipari with the old walls, the cathedral of San Bartolomeo, the archeological museum, a beautiful view of the city and the sea, a little amphitheater, the Greek-roman necropolis and inside the Cathedral don’t miss the Norman monastery, it’s wonderful and we took numerous pictures.

We arrived around 10:30 to Lipari and when we climbed up to the Castle it was just the 3 of us.

The pictures made were even more beautiful because we had this amazing wonder only for us. Then we went back down a flight of steps and we took a path full of shop with a lot of local Sicilian artwork.

I photographed plenty of things, but the most particular things are the cover lamps in macramé of which I already talked about on my Facbook, the baskets, called Coffe in Sicilian, and a girl’s shop where she works with a stone called obsidian, from which I bought a very original neckless.

The path leads to Marina corta, which is a worth seeing marina. Once arrived ask directions to see murals, they’re two tower-blocks decorated with Sicilian daily life scenes.

We took a private tour to go around the island, a really nice guy called Gianfranco, he has been recommend to us, but he told us to have a page on google as “taxi Gianfranco” so call him if you need him.

Lipari is also famous for the black obsidian stone quarries which Gianfranco nicely gave us, and for pumice quarries that being Unesco heritage site they are disused.  Go see the white beaches due to pumice indeed.

Lipari is also well organized for hiking at sea, sailing around the island and also towards the other islands; from this point of view it is the most organized of Aeolian’s.

Another island that really impressed us was Salina.

The things to see are different and the sea is wonderful.

It’s the island were they shot “Il postino” and in the Pollara zone you can see the original house of Troisi’s film.

Go to Malfa to get a drink at Santa Isabel, nothing to envy to any other terrace of Santorini, it looks like one of those white and blue locals of the Greek island, but here the sea will let you astonished by it.

Lingua is another area not to miss, there’s a little lighthouse with a pond with brackish water that confines with the sea. If you can agree the loop in this area around lunch time in order to taste the Sicilian snow cone and the bread “cunsato” which is famous all around the world.

We were lucky to go for a ride with a blue ape, I really recommend that.

Unfortunately I don’t remember the name of the person who took us for the ride.

On the ape we were repaired from the sun from the canopy but open on the sides as you can see also in the Board, and this allows you to appreciate something I haven’t found on the other islands and that remained impressed to us, the intense perfume of grape.

Salina is a great producer of Malvasia, the famous Malvasia of Lipari is being produced here, it’s amazing its heady perfume that you can smell and appreciate in this island, we’ve been really surprised.

Even here a lot of characteristic shop and I found typical Aeolian white ceramics that I really liked so I bought 2 heads. When I’ll be back to Rome I’ll take some pictures so you can tell me if you like them.

During this trip I passionate to the typical Sicilian Moro heads and their multiple functions.

From pots for flowers, to cachepot for plants and other uses.

My heads are littler because I’ll use them at the table, and they’re also versatile, from breadsticks holders to vases for little flowers, to utensils holders and who knows what else.

When I was there I’d have bought everything, I’m Sicilian from origin and I perfectly know the typical ceramics but here I found some different and I loved them.

For instance the difference from the classical colorful Sicilian Moro and the white version I bought, is that the first is the typical Caltagirone one, while the white ones are the Aeolians ceramics.

Indeed white and white and blue are the typical color of these islands.

Another amazing experience is the appetizer with dinner at Ginostra, in Stromboli island, with a Vulcan view that erupts at night from the sea.

Unlosable. It’s all planned so you only need to book it and trust them.

You can do it on the boat or on the raft. We left at 18:30 from Paranea on the boat and arrived to Ginostra almost 40 minutes later.

Ginostra is a small place at the feet of the Vulcan. You need to come to a deep valley but it’s not too tiring.

Climbing up there are 2 bars, a restaurant and a group of houses.

We took a drink at nightfall on this little terrace. The sun emanates gorgeous colors and stepping by to admire such a beauty of nature, eating some typical Sicilian products drinking a bottle of wine, it’s priceless.

Then we took a walk but there are a few houses and the streets are not enlightened so we went to the restaurant and at 22 we had an appointment down at the boat for the greater show.

Obviously the staircase is dark, enlightened only by the flashlight of our phones.

We went on the boat and we moved to see better the Vulcan.

The boat shut down the engines, dark all around, a million stars, and the moon enlightened the section of the sea behind us.

You could hear the noise of the sea under the boat and suddenly a deaf noise and then read lava on top of the Vulcan.

The show is suggestive and moving.

You’re right next to a strong nature, you make lot of questions, but mine all the time was: how can you live next to a Vulcan that erupts every 10/15 minutes? The sound, the shaking of the earth, the heat, lapilli all around, the lava… and I felt close, although we were in high seas, dipped in darkness.

We stayed there more than one hour but the thoughts were infinite.

Wonderful! Another experience I would do 100 times, also thousand.

Coming back to Panarea, we were able to take a lap almost to every restaurant and terraces for a happy hour. The most beautiful dinner was in Cusiritati. The place is unbelievable, at the booking ask for the table with a sea view and your eyes will thank you for so much beauty, amazing food, especially if you like raw food.

The coolest aperitif was at Raya. The terrace is 180 degrees on the sea, called “the most beautiful terrace of Mediterranean” good service, good view, good aperitif. No words… I’ll let them to you when you’ll go and you’ll let me know.

 My advice is to go early, around 19, so you can take the front row since here it’s impossible to book a table.

The restaurant “Da Pina” is recommended for the research of the Mise en Place. I’ve been impressed. The tables are all in nailed molten rock, all different from the other and everything on the table is extremely cured, from the macramé doily, to the bougainvillea that I love in summer.

For the rest we ate good and a lot of things are even to much elaborated, even if the cuisine is Sicilian, especially the surroundings are cold and formal.

Also the terrace of Lisca Bianca is amazing for the aperitif, upstairs there’s another great terrace that you can see in the Board, it’s a big picture of Luna, you eat sushi and there’s always music.

There are also other nice places but these deserve a visit because they gave me that emotion I was looking for and especially they made the difference from being there and being elsewhere to celebrate this birthday that for me was special.

So, after this long telling, I can say what are the things to do, for me, if you decide to come to Aeolian’s:

  1. A lap around Salina island with a stop of Santa Isabel; it looks like Santorini, but I found it even more beautiful.
  2. Aperitif at Raya of Panarea, the most beautiful terrace of Mediterranean.
  3. See Stromboli’s Vulcan that erupts at night from a boat in the sea.

Tell me your experience at Aeolian islands and if you have advices to ask I’ll be happy to answer your questions here on my blog.

Happy holidays and good summer!

Viviana Grunert