I woke up with the feeling that something magical was happening outside my window. And it was indeed: I had a view of perfect conical-shaped Alicudi, the westernmost island of the Aeolian archipelago, an extinct volcano full of legends. It is a mystical place that makes my imagination take flight with the sorcerers, or “Maiaras” (in their Aeolian dialect), that were said to inhabit the island at some point in time. There are stories about these women flying to the mainland, or to Sicily, to shop for groceries and supplies, and they did not need any brooms, only to stare at a mirror at night and cover their bodies with special ointments.
After Alicudi we continued to Filicudi, the next “sister” to the east, because, just as the Pleiades, they are seven islands of the wind, volcanoes of the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Looking at Salina, the third one, with its doble cones, I couldn’t help but remember one of my favorite movies, the one that we watched last night onboard Sea Cloud: Il Postino (The Postman). So human, a true poem. In a simple village a poet and an almost illiterate fisherman (the postman) become friends. The postman begins to create metaphors; they are simple, beautiful, and why not! What makes us humans is the capacity to paint with words – feelings, landscapes, the sea. I looked at Salina and had to contain my tears, because it brought me close to Il Postino and to the good things in human nature that move me and that I love: creativity, solidarity, kindness, and to volcanoes, in their effusive or eruptive flows, that I love as well.
After Salina, the captain asked the crew to hoist all sails up, and off we went once again to the magnificent past, with 1000 square meters of sails to the mild wind, not moving very far ahead, but looking glorious on cobalt-blue seas several hundred meters deep, underneath bright skies. I spoke about the geology of the Mediterranean, not only “in the middle of the land,” but in the middle of tectonic plates. As conditions were perfect, we offered the Zodiac Safari for our guests to enjoy Sea Cloud from a different perspective, to photograph it from the Zodiacs in all its splendor, with the islands of Lipari and Vulcano in the background.
For the afternoon we landed at Lipari. First, we went for a sightseeing drive of the island. Then we went to its amazing archeological museum, Luigi Bernabo Brea, which documents and illustrates human settlements in the Aeolian archipelago, from prehistory to modern age, using a chronological path divided in several buildings. We still had a chance to walk back through town, do some shopping, and eat gelato.
But the day wasn’t over yet. Dinner was set at the Lido bar. By 9:30 at night, while enjoying Mario at the piano, we had the first glimpse of Stromboli’s sparkling lavas. The lighthouse of the Mediterranean was on, as it has been for the last 3,000 years.