Sailing has always been my father’s first, deepest and certainly most lasting love… birthdays, weekends, Easters, Christmases, every holiday was a good opportunity to drop everything and head to sea no matter what mother nature had in store for us. Whether it be storms, tornadoes, or many days without seeing even a spec of land we sailed Susanna II, a 63 foot 1964 Sangermani sailboat. Here we were infinitely entertained while simultaneously safe and at home.
Once summer came, it was “arrivederci a tutti” – the three months where we fished, we swam, we caught waves with our legs hanging off the side of the boat, learned how to rigorously pluck the edible sea urchins (female ones, distinguishable by their reddish tone) and fell asleep to the sound and rocking of the waves.
Every day was a new adventure and every morning we would ask my dad “where are we going today?!” His answer would always be “dove ci porta il vento” or “wherever the wind takes us” — we navigated all of Italy and much of the Mediterranean but the Aeolian Islands stole my heart, and I thank the wind for that. Panarea, where we had our first gelato, was my favorite.
Panarea was like a mirage that appeared on the horizon – the smallest and the lowest of the Aeolian Islands in Sicily. It’s harsh and wild, sometimes a bit snobbish and yet, authentic and simple. A holiday made of morning granite, and barefoot wandering (as the locals do) between small white streets covered in different shades of bougainville. An enchanting island that offers the perfect balance between social life and unspoiled nature, a place where to truly enjoy the “dolce far niente” and spend your days hopping from bay to bay, island to island. (Map)
HOW TO GET THERE
Panarea is reachable only by boat, with departures from Sicily (ports of Milazzo & Palermo)
& mainland Italy (Naples, Reggio Calabria)
WHEN TO GO
June, July or early – mid September
WHERE TO STAY
The ideal holiday in Panarea and all the Aeolian Islands is on a boat, it is the best way to enjoy the sea and above all to move freely from one island to another but if that is not an option we would suggest staying at B&B Nonna Cecilia or Hotel Raya. If you plan to stay for a week or more renting a villa might be the best call: check out Oasi Villas or Soprano Villas.
WHERE TO EAT
BREAKFAST AND GRANITA
Il Bar Del Porto
Panarea in Forno
Food you need to try while there
Granita di Gelso (mulberry)
Malvasia delle Lipari (a typical wine from the region)
Pane Cunzato (da Adolfo on the nearby island of Salina)
L’Insolita di Andrea Pedrani (Panarea’s wine)
DRINKS + DANCE
Raya Boutique (one of their bohemian shirts is mandatory)
Moda Mare (custom made leather sandals)
Punta Del Corvo
BEACHES / BAYS
Spiaggia Della Calcara (underwater springs)
Cala Degli Zimmari (the only sandy beach on the island)
SCUBA DIVE / SNORKEL