Discovering the Aeolian Islands from Lipari
05.31.2015 - 05.31.2015 73 °F
We awoke earlier than I would have liked, but that’s the clock we are on now. We made our way down to the breakfast buffet, which was set in a very nice room outdoors with a canopy cover. The breakfast buffet, included with the room, included a wonderful, fresh squeezed red blood orange juice, coffee or cappuccino of choice, various deli meats, rolls, pastries, fresh cantaloupe and other fruit, cereal, etc. There was a great apricot tort. The Giants moved into first place.
The weather was overcast but warm. There are a number of companies that offer boat tours of Lipari and the neighboring island in the Aeolian chain, but we wanted to see the island. The front desk arranged for Silvio to give us a tour of the island. Silvio is a 76 year old man who was born on Lipari and has lived here his entire life. During the tour, in his broken English, he repeatedly announced how “beautiful” the island is and the fact that “I LOVE this little paradise.” He proudly took us around the entire island, pointing out the various vegetation that grew wild, including capers, rosemary, fennel, absinthe, grapes, fig trees, olive trees, mint, geraniums, poppies and many other wildflowers and cacti with agave. There were acres of ferns and acacia trees, and bamboo was plentiful He frequently stopped to pick the various herbs for Margaret and she would later make a little bouquet of them in our room.
There are four “towns” on Lipari…Lipari town, Lipari Canneto, Acqua Calda and Quattropani. The island is incredibly verdant, bordering on tropical. There are “Aeolian” style houses which are small and colorful. The larger houses are holdovers from a Spanish occupation and are appropriately described as “Spanish style”.
Since Lipari, as with all of the other islands in the Aeolian chain, was volcanic at one time, almost a quarter of the island is pumice stone and there are large expanses where all one can see is the white pumice residue from lava flow centuries ago. There is also beautiful areas where obsidian is formed, also residue from volcanic times.
On the other side of the island from Lipari town, there are amazing views of the island, Salina, which is the second largest island in the chain with a population of 2200. Beyond Salina is the smaller Filicudi (also the wifi password at our hotel if you ever get there…even though it did not work very well) with a population of 750 and, beyond, Filicudi, lies Alicudi with a population of 15. Portions of the movie, Il Postino, were filmed on Salina.
Further yet along our drive we had wonderful views of Vulcano. One of Silvio’s favorite lines was, “I have this imagination…”, and we would go on to say that Vulcano looked like an alligator sleeping. I could see that. There was another rock formation protruding from the water that he “imagined” to be a “Pope’s hat”…I could also see that!
He took us to places where the water was so clear and emerald in color that you could see the bottom…and the sun was not shining so I could “imagine” that it would be that much clearer with the sun shining.
There were several secluded beaches…all black sand and rock…from the lava centuries ago. Some of the beaches had chaise lounges and straw umbrellas and I wondered how you would get to these places since they did not seem accessible.
The tour lasted about an hour and forty five minutes and we felt that we got our 70 euros worth. Silvio dropped us at the town center where we explored the Chiesa Maria SS Delle Neve. Inside this tiny church was a village, built in miniature, with a river running next to it. There will be pictures at some point…I am getting there slowly.
We walked around the village for about an hour, Margaret poking her head in and out of every shop while I walked ahead and waited. At one end of Lipari is a fortress, an archaeological museum and the “Municipo”…city offices which are being restored. Unfortunately they were all closed on Sunday. As we walked toward the Municipo building, we saw a restaurant, La Fillopino, which I had read good reviews about…and Peter Tabet recommended it. Contrary to its name, it is strictly Sicilian food. We made a reservation for 7:30 and had a taxi take us back to our hotel for some rest time. At cocktail time, we engaged our first head to head game of doms…Steve 1, Marg 0.
La Fillopino is an elegant restaurant which sits at the top of Lipari Town. Waiters are dressed in black and white to match the white tablecloths. Once again we were one of the first customers, although, by the time we left, the place was packed. I once again started with prosciutto and melon and followed it with Veal Maldavisi, which was kind of like Veal Marsala, and tasty. Maldavisi is a local wine. Their patate frittes were terrific. Margaret started with an antipasti plate and followed it with fresh red snapper…the fish was presented to her for approval before going to the frying pan. She loved it. Dessert was Tartuffo for Marg and strawberry gelato for me…yum!!
Earlier in the day, I was in the hotel lobby trying to upload some photos to this website, because wifi was much stronger and more reliable there. On the TV was a DVD of Lipari and the other islands which I bought for 10 euro. When we returned to the room after dinner, we watched it and it is really well done.
Tomorrow is packing and moving day, so, buona sera for now.