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Italian paradise: 6 Aeolian Islands to visit

Italian paradise: 6 Aeolian Islands to visit

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Panarea

Hedonism

After Rossellini’s film brought the jet set to the Aeolians in the 1950s, they chose to buy their houses not on Stromboli but 24km south west on Panarea, a frangipani-scented paradise of film-set romance, with unobscured views of the volcano providing a permanent fireworks display. And thus the smallest island of the archipelago was established as its exclusive heart.

This was crystallised by the founding of Hotel Raya by artists Paolo Tilche and Myriam Beltrami in 1958. It has since sprawled up the mountainside and garnered legendary status — despite its simple two-star rating. Don’t be fooled: in August its terrace turns into an all-night disco where kaftan-clad Neapolitan beauties sporting Panarea’s famous leather-laced sandals, fashion designers and aristocrats lounge together on sunbeds.

The only way to rent a simple limestone house on Panarea is through a friend of a friend, in the same circles as residents Princess Alessandra Borghese or Irene Bulgari.

Panarea is a place of rituals. Lazy days are spent offshore exploring the rocky islets of Basiluzzo, Lisca Bianca and Batillo; perfect for a lunchtime anchor and swim, as your yacht’s chef prepares spaghetti alle vongole. The evenings begin back on shore at Bar del Porto in San Pietro for a negroni aperitivo before dinner at Bridge Sushi Bar — Dolce and Gabbana regularly tender over to eat here — followed by a night of dancing on Raya’s terrace to the primeval strobes of Stromboli.

Picture courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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