Sun and Volcanoes: Sicily and the Aeolian Islands

Greek Theater in Taormina

Greek Theater in Taormina, © Cloudy_Wings

As fall descends in Germany and the temperatures drop, I decided to extend summer by travelling to southern Italy. One week of sun, sea – and active volcanoes.

I spent a few days in Lipari on the Aeolian Islands, a group of volcanic islands north of Sicily. In 30-degree weather, I lounged on the beautiful large terrace outside my hotel room, discovered the narrow alleys of Lipari and visited the archaeological museum. And of course I went to the beach, tanned in a beach chair and enjoyed the refreshing water of the Mediterranean Sea – until I made contact with a jellyfish, that is. I hate jellyfish!

After long considerations, I decided to pass on a boat tour to Stromboli. I would have loved to see the volcanic eruptions after dark – but I didn’t want to take an 8-hour-tour just for that. Instead, I went to Vulcano, the island next to Lipari. Due to the heat, I didn’t ascend to the crater of the volcano. Yet, to experience the sulfurous smell, it is enough to simply visit the island. You can smell the odor of the volcano as soon as you arrive in the port.

Before heading home, I stopped for a couple of days in Taormina on Sicily. I was flying from Catania, so it was kind of on the way and I couldn’t pass on visiting this beautiful city. Built on the side of a rock, the city offers marvellous views of the sea below. But the highlight is the ancient Greek theatre, with views of Mount Etna beyond.

During my stay in Taormina, Etna was constantly covered in clouds (as you can see above). However, as I landed in Catania before heading to Lipari, the summit was visible – including the constant trail of smoke from the crater indicating that this is indeed a very active volcano.

And since both the Aeolian Islands and Mount Etna are UNESCO World Heritage Sites (and Taormina is on the tentative list), I may have bought a few (or a lot of) postcards to extend my UNESCO collection.

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