There is something romantic about the small cobbled streets of Lipari, the largest in this chain of islands. The sight of the lampposts shining on the marble makes it seem like the prison is as far away as it gets, but the Italian fascists thought otherwise. Lipari, they believed, was the perfect place to exile their opponents during the 20th century. Wander the streets to find the house where Carlo Rosselli lived before he escaped. Along the way, stop by La Coccinella stationery for the best pens, then Gilberto e Vera, a family business, for a delicious panini and a glass of inexpensive local red wine.

I have lunch every day at Antonio Pesaresi, who makes the best brioches in all of Sicily. They are huge, light, delicately scented with orange and best served with a strong espresso. I also manage to integrate a restorative dive with the native of the island Giuseppe Vadalà to give my aching legs a break from all those volcanic climbs.

Volcanoes are a perfect symbol of this uncertain period

The bus will take you to a viewpoint called Quattrocchi, which means ‘four eyes’, about three kilometers west of town, where you can clearly see all the way to Vulcano and virtually wave to anyone standing at the crater. . Then don’t miss the hike to the hidden Spiaggia Valle Muria beach, which is about half an hour from here.

Volcanoes are a perfect symbol of this uncertain era: volatile, mysterious and explosive. In mythology, they are considered to be one of the gates to hell. Pour a libation for Aeolus as you climb, then whisper a prayer for someone as you lie down gazing at the brightest stars above Stromboli, listening to the sea.

Keep scrolling for more photos of the volcanic islands

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