The Best Islands in the Med continued: We feel everyone should visit at least one Mediterranean destination in their lifetime. This month we are going to focus on the Aeolian Islands, Italy.
WHY THE AEOLIAN ISLANDS?
Once the haunt of ancient deities, the beautiful Aeolian Islands off Sicily are now worshipped for their glittering nightlife and smouldering volcanoes. They are a mixed bag of rough and sparkling jewels that attract an equally mixed crowd of Milanese magnates, Sicilian princes, families in search of a quiet holiday, an international fashion crowd and a few Italian northerners in the know. It was here in the 50s, that their bold colours and dramatic light caught the eye of director Roberto Rossellini, who filmed his new lover Ingrid Bergman on Stromboli, in the film of the same name. Stromboli still blows its top regularly, but not much else on the Aeolians has changed. And nowadays, you can party on Panarea and have thalasso treatments on Vulcano.
WHERE TO STAY
Capofaro on Salina is an unusual boutique hotel with a fully functioning vineyard and a lighthouse (the latter, a faro, has given the hotel its name). Its small white buildings are found between the villages of Malfa and Santa Marina, where cliffs that drop to the sea break up the Mediterranean landscape. The 18 rooms are found in the seven cottages that look down across the vineyards to the sea, and the sunset views are astonishing.
WHERE TO EAT
Ristoriante Filippino is located opposite the town hall on Lipari, and has been serving wonderful dishes since 1910. The local Italian fare on the menu includes mouth-watering raviolini of grouper, and the service is pleasant and attentive. Monet paid for his food with a painting and Mussolini’s son-in-law would come here when staying nearby.
THE BEST EXCURSION
Make sure you visit most of the islands so head to Stromboli if you are staying on Salina, or Lipari if you are staying on Vulcano. Ask your concierge for tips about hidden treasures along the coastline too – no one knows the Aeolian Islands as well as the people who grew up there.
WHEN TO VISIT
From October to April, strong winds disrupt ferry services, and many restaurants and shops close. Go in summer, when it is hot and there is a buzz about the islands. The best month temperature-wise is July.
For more information on The Aeolian Islands or any other holiday destinations please contact Full Circle Travel on 01491 833227, email email@example.com or pop in a see their friendly team of travel experts at St Mary’s Street, Wallingford.