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Splash out in Lipari

by Ventrix last modified 2008-06-20 15:10

Who can resist the crystal-clear waters of Lipari? And who can resist a mouth-watering meal after their swim. Join us as we sample the seas and specialities of one of the jewels of the Mediterranean . . .

The Archaeology MuseumLipari is the largest and best-known of the Aeolian islands. It's just an hour's trip by hydrofoil from the Sicilian port of Milazzo or you can take the more leisurely ferry crossing from Naples.
Like all the islands in the archipelago Lipari is volcanic and its rich colours contrast sharply with its rugged coastline. The main town (Lipari) is typically Mediterranean with pastel-tinted houses huddled together between the castle and the town walls. The Archaeology Museum inside the castle traces the history of the islands and documents ancient trade routes for the islands' main exports obsidian glass and pumice stone, both of which are volcanic products. Saint Bartholomew's Church, known locally as the Cathedral is also within the castle complex.

There's nothing better than a swim in the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean to start off your holiday. After your dip you'll have worked up an appetite so book a table for lunch at Filippino's, one of the island's best - and oldest - restaurants. Like all good restaurants the menu varies according to season and the catch of the day. We recommend the ravioloni di cernia (fresh pasta with a fish sauce) and involtini di luvaro imperiale affumicato al limoncello (bream roulades in a lemon sauce) all washed down with a glass (or two) of Damaschino, one of the lesser-known, but nonetheless delicious Sicilian whites. As the restaurant fills up watch the waiters strike up a frenzied dance, moving swiftly and soundlessly through the tables with their platters piled high with fish and carafes brimful with wine, swaying and side-stepping as they meet each other and smiling attention on the diners. The wine list is excellent and the prices in line with the quality of the restaurant.

Another good choice for no-fuss local food is Le macine restaurant in Pianoconte. No transport? Don't worry, ring ahead (090-9822387) and you'll be collected in Lipari by minibus - do ask to stop en route at Quattrocchi where the view is breath-taking. La Kasbah restaurant in the centre of town is more sophisticated. Decorated, as the name suggests, in Arab-style you can dine on the finest fish in the candle-lit garden with a romantic background of Moroccan music.

Lipari may be the most developed resort of the islands but it's still far from touristy. Unlike many Mediterranean resorts shops close in the evening and on Sundays when all shopping is limited to a few stalls where local children sell pumice and obsidian souvenirs as well as capers and sauces bottled by the island women.
As you walk through the quaint streets and squares of the town you may be approached by tour operators offering boat trips and guided tours of the islands. We chose to 'go local' and explored the surrounded seas in one of the many fishing boats - not as luxurious as your standard boat tour but much more interesting and leisurely.

It goes without saying that Lipari is a bather's paradise. If you're a scuba enthusiast head for the pumice caves (download and watch the video to get an idea of what's in store). The reflections from the stark white cliff turn the seafloor into an extraordinary palette of colour making for a dive of a lifetime. Another favourite strand for swimmers and sunbathers is valle Muria beach, locally known as Faraglioni beach. It's a secluded spot looking out towards Vulcano island, though not too secluded for its own sandwich bar - set up in one of the caves! The island's only real beach is at Canneto, a few kilometres north of Lipari town and surrounded by obsidian caves.

Sicilian wines - - Some of Sicily's best-known wines
Donnafugata - - One of Sicily's most prestigious wineries
Restaurants - - A list of Lipari's restaurants
Getting there - - All the information you need on getting to and around Lipari
Information - - Lots of useful information on Lipari
Accommodation - - Accommodation on the Aeolian islands

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