Today we meet Lillo, Spartivento base manager in Portorosa, the largest Sicilian marina, which is located at the most indented point of the bay between the picturesque Gulf of Milazzo and the port of Tindari. Together with the base of Capo d'Orlando, Portorosa is the ideal starting point to reach the Aeolian Islands. In this question & answer, Lillo will give some useful sailing tips as well as suggestions on where to go for a dive or where to indulge on some authentic Aeolian cuisine - all from a true connoisseur of the area!
View from the boat of volcano Stromboli in the Aeolian Archipelago in Sicily
What would you recommend visiting in the Aeolian Islands?
"The Aeolian Islands have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000. They are volcanic islands and certainly the most fascinating one is Stromboli. An active volcano that takes us back millions of years. If you sail at night on the north-western side of the island, you can spot the continuous explosions and see the lapilli with the flaming stones rolling towards the sea."
What is your favourite bay?
"If you are looking for a bay where you can spend the night lulled by the waves and contemplate the sky, I would certainly recommend Baia Milazzese, which is in Panarea on the south-east side of the island. The bay has a sandy seabed and is protected from west and north winds at the feet of an ancient prehistoric Bronze Age village, very close to Cala Junco, a natural park on the south side of the island.
Another place worth mentioning is the white beaches in Lipari, on the north-east side of the island. Here, the predominant colours are white and turquoise - the white of the pumice quarries and the turquoise of the water which reflects the light on the white seabed.
Another bay where you can stop for a dive is the Bay of Pollara, which is located on the northwest side of the island of Salina: a bay characterized by a natural arch and beautiful seabed rich in flora and fauna so highly recommended for those who love snorkeling."
Any advice when sailing around the Aeolian Islands?
"Sailing in the Aeolian Islands is not particularly difficult. In the summer the wind comes from north-west - it is the mistral. All berths are on the east side as well as the main ports, the port Pignataro in Lipari and the Aeolian port on the island of Salina. In the summer, buoy fields and floating docks are installed to get more room for boats coming in. If you are in a flotilla, we recommend that you send an email to the main ports a few months in advance to make a reservation, but as far as the buoy camp and floating docks are concerned, just give a call a few days in advance and you will have the guarantee to find a place."
Where can you enjoy good Aeolian cuisine?
"In Lipari I definitely recommend the restaurant Dal Filippino - a very old restaurant on the island which dates back 1910. And E Pulera, a slightly younger restaurant: here the well-kept garden and the tables under the citrus trees create a very unique atmosphere. If you're looking to taste fresh fish I recommend Portobello on the island of Salina: a restaurant with a terrace overlooking the entire port. If you enjoy good wine you will have to pay a visit to the Cantina Fenech and Cantina Hauner where you will taste great Aeolian wines, some local products and Malvasia. In Lipari I recommend the wine cellars of Castellaro where you'll indulge in wine tasting inside a terrace overlooking the vineyard itself on the hills".
So we look forward to seeing you on the Aeolian Archipelago!
You can watch the full interview with Lillo here (you can enable English subtitles by clicking on the Gear Settings icon - at the bottom right of the video - Subtitles, English)