SailSterling Essential Stromboli
Stromboli is a still active volcano, the largest in Europe after Mount Etna. The island is a single lava mountain that sinks to 2000 meters below the surface of the water. The island is visually dominated by the crater. At night, when there is a lot of activity, you can see the lava, the glowing stream that slowly flows down from the top, while on deck of your catamaran or from the island of Panarea. And during the day, you can watch the smoke rising from the volcanic peak mix with the steam that rises from the water and cools the lava rubble that plunges into the sea. There are still quiet villages on Stromboli that have only opened to tourism in moderation.
Stromboli is the right place for those who like to bathe quietly and enjoy the pure island and volcanic landscape. In the 50s, the famous director Roberto Rosselini shot a drama about Stromboli – with Ingrid Bergman as the star. The whole thing turned into a scandal because they both became a couple, although otherwise married. Of course, there are still “contemporary witnesses” on the island, e.g. the house where Bergman once lived, and the “Ingrid” cafe is no coincidence. Otherwise, however, the volcano is the focal point. Contemplative, calm, pleasant.
The main town of the same name on the island of Stromboli is small, with just 500 inhabitants. Nevertheless, the island is known and loved by tourists – this is mainly due to the volcano of the same name. The Stromboli volcano is the only active volcano in Europe and has delighted visitors for decades with its regular lava flows and fountains. Unfortunately, for safety reasons, it can only be climbed up to a height of 400 meters alone. If you want to climb up to the crater, you have to do this with a local mountain guide. The ascent is very strenuous, but definitely worth it! The tour starts in the late afternoon, so that the summit is only reached at sunset.
Why? do you ask yourselves…. well, so that you can see the glowing, seething lava in the crater particularly well! This tour is a unique experience in Europe. Over steep paths, past lava fields, you finally reach the fire-breathing crater. However, if this ascent is too arduous for you, you can also choose the circular path around the island, which you can also walk alone and which reaches up to a height of 400 meters to the crater. The sight of the white houses between the dark cliffs, with the fireworks of the volcano in the background, makes your stay on Stromboli a unique experience.
Those who arrive in Stromboli town will be amazed by the rugged, rocky and conical beauty of the island, where unique scents and colors create an atmosphere that seems like from another planet. Between the jagged cliffs and black sandy beaches, the pretty, always well-kept house facades create an interesting contrast. This is a fertile land, richly cultivated with fragrant citrus trees and watched by the attentive and silent eye of the Stromboli (or Strombolicchio) volcano. It is the only European volcano with permanent eruptive activity, and at night its occasional smaller eruptions can be seen from a great distance. So it is no coincidence that the island has been called the “lighthouse of the Tyrrhenian Sea” since ancient times.
From the port area, a small street leads to Piazza San Vincenzo, which takes its name from the adjacent church. From there, whoever wants to, can tackle the ascent of the volcano. The hiking route remains quite easy up to around 450 meters in altitude, but then becomes quite tricky in the following stage, which is why the presence of a hiking guide is required.
From Piazza San Vincenzo you can also visit the Church of San Bartolomeo, built in 1801, where Roberto Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman stayed during the filming of the 1949 film “Stromboli Terra di Dio“. From here you can continue to the village of Piscità and the Spiagga Lunga – a beautiful black sand beach. The second place on Stromboli is Ginostra, a small village on the south-east coast of the island, which seems lonely and deserted under an awe-inspiring black volcanic slope – but surprisingly has a small port, Pertuso.
Divers will find a perfect place in Lazzaro to test themselves: An old salvage shaft leads directly into the sea and at the height of the church – at a depth of about 20 meters – you can marvel at the wreck of an old military ship.
A good observation point for the magic fire at night is the trattoria at the old marine station Punta Labronzo (about 30 minutes’ walk from Stromboli’s district of San Bartolo). The path to the 926m high Stromboli summit also begins here. You should allow 3-4 hours for the ascent in the late afternoon.
The Stromboli climb is definitely one of the great experiences when visiting the Aeolian Islands. The ascent can only be done with a guide. Mountain guides are arranged by the local tourist office, the ascent is usually done in groups. The ascent is not without risk, because the path is not harmless. In addition, the 900m difference in altitude in the Italian heat should not be underestimated. However, with sturdy shoes, a bit of stamina and reason, an ascent should be possible. Orientation is quite easy on clear days and stable weather. Every 20 minutes to 1 hour, the Stromboli volcano pushes a fountain of fire into the starry night sky as a grandiose spectacle.
The volcanic activity is of course most impressive in the dark. The tour should start in the late afternoon so that you can enjoy the sunset from the summit (the ascent time if you are not walking too fast takes about 2.5 hours). We recommend packing drinks with you for the ascent of the volcano. The heat is often underestimated. Very good shoes are required as the path is not easy. If you start the tour late in the afternoon, you shouldn’t forget your flashlight, preferably a headlamp. A strong wind usually blows on the summit and it gets very cold at night, so warm clothes should also be packed.
First you hike via Ficogrande and the northwestern district of San Bartolo. Then it’s easy and continuously uphill on a paved path up to about 250m. From this point you have a wonderful view of Stromboli village and the coast. Suddenly the trail becomes steeper. The path now partly leads past the edge of the lava drainage channel and reveals a view up to the smoking crater. After smaller climbing sections you reach the narrow summit ridge, which stretches less steeply through a completely vegetation-free, sandy lunar landscape until you reach the highest point.
The nature on Stromboli
From the depths of the Tyrrhenian Sea, the mass of Stromboli protrudes in a splendid blaze of colours, with its steep slopes that rise clearly against a sapphire-coloured sky. On the east, green-covered slopes, clean, delicate, typical white houses stand out, which when viewed from the height look like white butterflies on an emerald green meadow. A few other houses are scattered on the beach, which is black as ebony, or near lava rocks, offering unique colour contrasts. Other houses are either clustered close to the church or hidden between ancient olive trees, some climb up steep slopes. They once offered the inhabitants refuge from night raids by Saracen pirates.
Long prickly pear hedges line the village, which very often serve as a border between the properties. The capers, which are wonderfully distributed on the terraced slopes or stuck to the walls, are emblazoned with their umbrella-like green foliage and adorn themselves with striking white flowers in the summer.
The leafy olive trees and the endlessly extensive vineyards, interrupted here and there by wisteria, blackberries and gorse, overgrown by a sea of tall grass and interspersed with thousands of wild flowers, offer a wonderfully colourful landscape with intoxicating scents. A symphonic note completes the idyllic picture. It is the monotonous hum of the cicadas drunk with the sun and the scent. In contrast to this eastern slope, which is covered by lush vegetation, stands the northern slope: it is bare, rough, foggy and often a witness to apocalyptic events. Stromboli’s peculiarity reads in this stark contrast.
"Even now I miss Italy dearly, I dream about it every night"
Stringent cleaning procedures are already in-place across all boats globally for the well-being of our crew and guests. These will be further enhanced to meet government guidelines in the UK and Italy which are in place in July 2021 in relation to the COVID pandemic. These will include temperature checks prior to boarding; hand-sanitising stations in public areas; additional deep cleans of public areas including decks; social distancing if required. With each catamaran’s capacity at a maximum of 10 people including skipper and chef, if required in August, guests would remain in catamaran bubbles during visits to vineyards and other on-shore activities.