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Italian paradise: 6 Aeolian Islands to visit

Italian paradise: 6 Aeolian Islands to visit

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Salina

Retreat

Salina, the second biggest landmass after Lipari, is the place to immerse yourself in the unchanged rural life that subsists on its extinct twin peaks, Monte Fossa delle Felci (962 metres) and Monte Dei Porri (860 metres). On these verdant slopes, cut by ancient terracettes high above narrow swatches of black lava stone beach, capers and sweet Malvasia grapes are still farmed the old way.

Salina’s unspoilt simplicity made it the starring beauty, alongside Maria Grazia Cucinotta, of Michael Radford’s Il Postino, which was shot in Pollara in 1994. This hamlet of less than 100 people lies in the crater of the old volcano and glows pink at dusk. Capers and desert wine were the island’s main source of income for hundreds of years. When a phylloxera epidemic hit in the 1890s, Salinians emigrated en masse to Australia where they started the new world wine industry. A museum at Lingua tells this story, although the main attraction here is Alfredo’s artisanal granite, in flavours from pistachio to fichi d’india — a favourite of Giorgio Armani, who sends a crew member daily to fetch him some.

Dock at Santa Marina on the east coast. From here you can hike for four hours into the mists of Monte Fossa delle Felci, in forest so cool it feels air-conditioned. Food and wine is not the only way to enjoy Salina. The spa at Hotel Signum is one of the best spas in the Mediterranean and offers thalassotherapy — the ancient water treatment practised by the Romans and Greeks.

Picture courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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