Rapallo was never on my list. I never thought there could actually be something about this city. It lies on the Ligurian Sea coast, just between Cinque Terre and Genoa. As a girl from Croatia, I know it from the history books as the Treaty of Rapallo was signed there, in Villa Pagana, formerly known as Villa Spinola. A treaty…
The five Cinque Terre villages are situated in northern Italy on the Mediterranean Sea, just 3 hours by train from Milan, Pisa and Florence. I have arrived by car and totally enjoyed the national park that spreads across the five villages. La Spezia My journey started in La Spezia. This was the very first stop as I…
Tintine was slowly climbing up the hills of San Marino. Not much pressure should have been put on this car as she had enough of the shocks in the last year or two. The hills around us were rising and soon we found ourselves surrounded by an amazing view. It was San Marino surrounded by…
My Life in Sicily finished after a year spent on this island. It was time to turn on my Tintine (a beautiful red car), hop on a ferry and say goodbye. I was nostalgic as a was driving through Reggio Calabria. But soon I was in Puglia – the region with the best Italian cheeses.…
Ardennes are super fun to visit. They are cold but there is loads of trails to discover. Hence, after so many locations, Rochefort was on the route as well. Its ancient position at the crossroads where the route to Saint-Hubert crossed that from Liège to Bouillon required fortifying: the ruins of the old castle, which gave the place its name and…
Once upon a time, there was a little Ivana in Cuba trying to explain a poor restaurant holder that the pizza ragusa he is having on the menu is not some Italian name for some Italian city, but the city of Dubrovnik in Croatia. Stupid girl. Ragusa is a city on the southern side of the…
An Ionian seaside town, Avola is a mix of old and new. The town focuses heavily on the sea, with its history as a tuna fishing port. Today, the remains of the Vecchia Tonnara at the wharf are a stone backdrop to the sandy beaches. Avola dates back to a pre-Greek people called the Sicani.…
Located about 11 kilometres north of Catania, it is the perfect little commune to visit during the ottobrata – the local festivity that occurs every October here in Sicily, celebrating the fruits of the land: frutti di terra. The first encounter went wrong already 🙂 Approaching the booth with fruit, I have noticed quince – one…
I haven’t had a chance to spent a bit more time discovering this city. But just a glimpse and it made me think to re-visit and make it’s due. When the time will come, I promise to update with more photos. But for now, enjoy the story 🙂 Several civilizations settled in Milazzo and left…
I didn’t expect much from this harbour city, to be honest. I knew they have a great beer – Messina cristali di sale: a great Sicilian beer brewed since 1923 and one of the most loved Italian beers. It is the third largest city on the island of Sicily, and the 13th largest city in Italy.…
Senlis is a city in the northern French department of Oise, Hautes de France. Cute, medieval and charming. It offered us great peek into history: The monarchs of the early French dynasties lived in Senlis, attracted by the proximity of the Chantilly forest. Senlis is situated on the river Nonette. Senlis was known in early Roman imperial times as Augustomagus. During the 3rd century, a seven-meter…
The Château de Chantilly is one of the finest jewels in the crown of France’s cultural heritage. It is the work of a man with an extraordinary destiny: Henri d’Orléans, Duke of Aumale, son of the last King of France, Louis-Philippe. This historic French château located in the town of Chantilly, Oise, about 50 kilometres north of Paris. The site…
If something is worth visiting in life, it is the Aeolian islands. Becasue it makes you think about winter in the south. It makes you think about simplicity of life. […]
If something is worth visiting in life, it is the Aeolian islands. Becasue it makes you think about winter in the south. It makes you think about simplicity of life. And it makes you realise how not to treat the tourists: just some bags of potatoes that need to be shipped from one island to another one.
The islands are a volcanic archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea north of Sicily, said to be named after Aeolus, the mythical ruler of the winds. When the first tour was cancelled, I was curious how come, as on Sicily everything seemed to be calm. The lady from the tourist agency told me on the phone: ”Madam, these are the islands named after a Greek God of the wind. Trust me, you don’t want to be tomorrow on the boat.” – Fair enough. Please re=schedule for the next day. 🙂
The islands’ inhabitants are known as Aeolians (Italian: Eoliani). The islands had a permanent population of 15,000. The Aeolian Islands are a popular tourist destination in the summer and attract up to 600,000 visitors annually. The tourist hop from one ship to another one, being served quickly with the dish and some souvenirs and packed to go on another island.
There are seven significant islands: Lipari, Vulcano, Salina, Stromboli, Filicudi, Alicudi and Panarea, and a set of minor islands and rocks.
We have visited the four of them.
Vulcano is the first port of call for ferries from Milazzo. As well as the spectacular view of the narrow channel between this island and neighbouring Lipari, you’re also greeted with the strange sight of a stack of sulphurous oozings, right by the harbour, with an accompanying smell! It really smells like rotten eggs.
As there are many rocks around Vulcano, the entire place is called Valley of the Monsters. The whole area, covered with fine black sand, is dotted with these “monsters”. We have passed next to the Lion rock.
Next to the Lion rock is Grotta del Cavallo or the Horse cave. The name is said to originate from the shape of a rock that sits at the end of the natural cave and resembles a horse’s head. However, another version suggests that it might have been due to the presence of numerous seahorses in the past.
Going further but still, along the coast of Vulcano, there is another small rock called Scoglio delle Sirene. This is the resting rock of the mermaids. At late-night, the locals can sometimes hear them calling the sailors.
My favourite one was the rock with the hole. Our guide explained that the sirens are sometimes playing by swimming around and jumping through this hole. I haven’t seen any that day but it triggered my mind 🙂
Swimming here is a very special experience, because the fumaroles extend right out into the sea, bubbling up hot gas and giving the sensation of being in a jacuzzi, in the blue Mediterranean!
The first evidence of Sicilian migration was in Lipari. It is relatively pedestrian in comparison with the exotic Vulcano. Fortunately, it has less exotic prices, and the large main town has a nice old quarter and a decent quota of non-tourist shops. But before arriving there, the rock formation called The Mummy.
Now approaching to Lipari port. Calm, peaceful from the far but hectic and touristy as you arrive. Too many people at one place. Not that much nosy, though. I have witnessed worse.
Here the glimpse of the first impression. We had 2 hours to explore. Our main mission: to find quick food, buy souvenirs and explore as much as possible. Starting point was Marina Piccola.
Lipari is the largest of the Aeolian Islands, and was a very important area in the past: in fact, the large amount of obsidian present in its volcanic mountains, and its characteristic quality (hard edge) which led into exportation.
Meanwhile, we found a restaurant. Charming grandpa understood we are in a hurry so he didn’t doubt at all by recommending us aeolian wine: La Cambusa and local squid recipe.
The Aeolian Islands and their surrounding waters nurture a remarkable range of biodiversity. The inshore reefs are home to groupers, lobsters and octopus.
Food was done, shopping was done, now we had to explore a bit more. Running, running like a tourist. The clock was ticking. This is the last time I agree on something like this. I am barely having time to sit and enjoy.
The last 45 min were planned to go up the stairs and visit The Cathedral of San Bartolomeo. It is more than 120 steps after a good lunch. Good luck!
The conversion of the inhabitants of Lipari dates to the middle of the 3rd century AD, from which point a place of prayer has existed on the island. The first cathedral was built in the heart of the acropolis, where a Greek temple had probably existed in the classical period, but it was destroyed by the Arabs in 838.
The fortuitous and undocumented recovery of a lead sarcophagus containing the remains of Bartholomew the Apostle. He was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. According to legend, he was skinned alive and beheaded, often being depicted holding his flayed skin or the curved flensing knife with which he was skinned; thus, he is remembered and approved as the patron saint of leathermakers. He was spreading the Christianity to the east: Armenia to India. However, notably there is a Saint Bartholomew Church in Baku, Azerbaidjan on the site where the Apostle Bartholomew was believed to have been killed – in area near the Maiden Tower, by local pagans in 71 AD.
The 6th-century writer in Constantinople, Theodorus Lector, claims that the Byzantine emperor Anastasius I Dicorus gave the body of Bartholomew to the city of Daras, in Mesopotamia. As the Muslims continued to slay the area, many Catholics, including pagans started to pray to his body witnessing miraculous. The local government didn’t like this situation so they got rid of the body. which somehow miraculously washed up in Lipari : a large piece of his skin and many bones.
Of the many miracles claimed to have been performed by Bartholomew before and after his death, two are known by the townsfolk of Lipari. The people of Lipari celebrated his feast day annually. The tradition of the people was to take the solid silver and gold statue from inside the Cathedral and carry it through the town. On one occasion, when taking the statue down the hill towards the town, it suddenly became very heavy and had to be set down. When the men carrying the statue regained their strength, they lifted it a second time. After another few seconds, it got even heavier. Within seconds, walls further downhill collapsed. If the statue had been able to be lifted, all the townspeople would have been killed -as the procession was supposed to go down the hill.
During World War II, the fascist regime looked for ways to finance their activities. The order was given to take the silver statue of Saint Bartholomew and melt it down. The statue was weighed, and it was found to be only a few grams. It was returned to its place in the Cathedral of Lipari. In reality, the statue is made from many kilograms of silver and it is considered a miracle that it was not melted down. Saint Bartholomew is credited with many other miracles having to do with the weight of objects.
Panarea is the smallest of the seven inhabited Aeolian Islands, southern Italy. There are currently about 280 residents living on the island year-round; however the population increases dramatically in summer with the influx of tourists especially during the months of July and August. In recent years, the island has become known internationally for its celebrity visitors. Kate Moss is sone of them claiming she enjoys the total privacy of the island.
The island is an active volcano as well. There are thermal springs around asn the sea is super warm. We hooped on a small taxi vehicle and drove ourselves to a beach: Spiaggia di cava Junco. My partner got smashed by a jelly fish – but it didn’t matter. 😛 We were still impressed by the tranquility of the place.
Quick refreshments as the boat is coming in 15 mins. -.- Really, a sack of potatoes these tourists. Grab the money from them and send them further.
Geologically the archipelago is defined as a volcanic arc. The origin of the Aeolian Islands is due to movement of the Earth’s crust as a result of plate tectonics. The African continental shelf is in constant movement towards Europe. Its subduction underneath the Eurasian plate generates magma, which rises to the surface to form the volcanoes. The “Aeolian Arc” extends for more than 140 km, but the area of geological instability caused by the collision of Africa and Europe is much larger. It includes Sicily, Calabria, and Campania together with Greece and the Aegean islands.
One of the four active volcanoes in Italy. This was the best part of the trip and totally unexpected. The volcano has erupted many times and is constantly active with minor eruptions, often visible from many points on the island and from the surrounding sea, giving rise to the island’s nickname “Lighthouse of the Mediterranean“
From the moment we have disembarked, I have noticed the strange atmosphere. The sand has been black, the beaches were not so much attractive = not like I am seeing these black beaches for the first time, but still – there was some odd expectation in the air that I could have not explain to myself. Neither did I think about it too much.
Instead we have sit for an early dinner. Starting with the local wine – bianco porticello. Little did I know the the Stromboli is the most spectacular of the islands, as it’s the only one that is volcanically active. In fact, it’s the only volcano in the world that is known to have been continuously active throughout recorded history.
The horn from the boat called. We hopped on the boat thinking this was it. The day finished. A trip back to Milazzo in an hour. We have seen the sunset colours as never. The spectacular bliss of the rocks and cliffs around.
My favourite one was the Bottaro as it has the lighthouse on the top with a person living there and a nest of the buzzard bird. True symbiosis of a man and an animal.
We could have seen Stromboli from the different perspective with the smoke coming out. Thinking it is typical. Mount Stromboli has been in almost continuous eruption for the past 2,000–5,000 years; its last serious one occurred in 1921. The serious one. Since 2019 it is having small occasional eruptions.
Little did I know I will actually see one in front of my face! It exploded 2-3 times. Enough to make me breathless and re-thinking my joie de vivre. Our guide said that the Eruptions from the summit craters typically result in a few short, mild, but energetic bursts, ranging up to a few hundred meters in height, containing ash, incandescent lava fragments and stone blocks.
I was lucky to catch a money. I give that one to San Bartolomeo and to Eol – the God of wind!
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