Good morning, my dear readers and followers! This time our journey is a little bit different! I really hope that you suffer neither from seasickness nor from dizziness! Ok… Are you ready to give up moorings and sail with me to one of the most active volcanoes in Europe? Are you curious to climb it and admire numerous eruptions from above? Moreover, would you like to discover which volcano “bewitched” Mark Twain and inspired Roberto Rossellini’s film “Land of God”? I’m sure – yes! So, welcome on board! We are sailing to Stromboli – “a living Autocrat of the Sea”!
Why do they call me Stromboli?!!
After six hours’ navigation from Calabria, finally, we can see better the island from the bow of our sailing boat… The first thing that comes to our mind is its perfect conic ROUND form! Probably, many many years ago the Greeks had the same vision and for this reason, called it “roundabout”, in ancient Greek “Strongyle”.
Superb Stromboli…. a living Autocrat of the Sea
The closer our sailing boat gets to the volcano, the more we are enchanted by its majesty… The wind is helping us and we are just on the right course. Suddenly three dolphins pop up and start playing with the bow. My eyes fill with tears – tears of amazement and happiness. I keep telling myself “just take a breath”, but I can’t hold back my emotions. And it’s just the beginning of my adventure on Stromboli.
The twilight is slowly coming. I go down to the cabin, open my book and read aloud to my friends: “… we sighted superb Stromboli. With what majesty the monarch held his lonely state above the level sea! Distance clothed him in a purple gloom and added a veil of shimmering mist that so softened the rugged features that we seemed to see him through a web of silver gauze. His torch was out; his fires were smoldering; a tall column of smoke that rose up and lost itself in the growing moonlight was all the sign he gave that he was a living Autocrat of the Sea and not the specter of a dead one”. Have you guessed the book? Who is the writer “bewitched” by Stromboli? Of course, Mark Twain! Just read “The Innocents abroad”!
Here, we have reached our destination… But the show is not over! Before anchoring, we are going to admire the famous “stream of fire” the so-called “Sciara”! So, what more could you desire?! Stream of fire, falling stars, dearest friends and a bottle of excellent red wine ETNA DOC – just to pay tribute to both Sicilian volcanoes!
Stromboli, Land of God
A good night’s sleep on the boat, fresh bath in the sea in the morning and we are ready to explore San Vincenzo! No doubt, we can’t miss the house where the register Roberto Rossellini and the actress Ingrid Bergman lived their love story. By the way, do you know how their love story was born?!
Everything is the “fault” of the letter that Ingrid Bergman wrote to Roberto Rossellini. She admired his work and wanted to make a movie with him. Together they set up a joint production company for the film “Stromboli, Land of God”. Although the film didn’t achieve the expected success, Bergman won the Italian award “Silver Ribbon” which is said to be the oldest movie award in Europe. During the film’s production, as you can imagine, the register and the actress fell in love. So beware of our volcano: it can kindle the flame also in your hearts!
Climbing superb Stromboli
Stromboli, “Iddu” in Sicilian dialect, is one of the most active volcanoes in Europe. So, don’t underestimate some important rules, namely: climbing ONLY with an expert guide, trekking shoes with long socks, flashlight, anti-smog mask and, of course, still water!
Our target is just to overcome the height difference of 918 meters! However, few know that its real total height is 2400 meters. No doubt, I mean the volcano’s height from its SEABED DEPTH to its top. The most part of the volcano is hidden underwater!
So, are you are ready?! Let’s start! While climbing, you can admire the bay with sailing boats, Strombolicchio and San Vincenzo from above… Every step you make, you stop to take a picture, a video or just enjoy a breathtaking panorama. Basically, I think that there is no sense to describe…, I prefer to leave the space to your imagination or even better to your own experience on Stromboli.
Once reached the so-called Pizzo, you realize that the earth is alive: thick smoke, sulfur odour and frequent detonations. Are you in Hell?! No, you are in Paradise, because you have the possibility to see three erupting craters – the miracle of nature! Those famous erupting craters from which Professor Lidenbrock and his nephew Axel were ejected! Do these names tell you anything?! Have you ever read “A Journey to the Center of the Earth” by Jules Verne?
While sitting on the volcanic sand enchanted by its majesty, Axel’s words come to my mind: “Stromboli! What an effect this unexpected name produced upon my mind! We were in the midst of the Mediterranean Sea, on an island of the Eolian archipelago, in the ancient Strongyle, where Eolus kept the winds and the storms chained up, to be let loose at his will. And those distant blue mountains in the east were the mountains of Calabria. And that threatening volcano far away in the south was the fierce Etna”
Of course, while staying at Stromboli, one gets curious about the nearby rock island with the lighthouse above… It is a volcanic plug and the remnant of the original volcano’s eruptions of 200.000 years ago. Strombolicchio, the so-called “little Stromboli”, is uninhabited: there is neither freshwater nor land to cultivate… However, there you can see some rare species, even those ones at risk of extinction.
Can you visit it? No doubt, yes! You can reach the lighthouse by the stairway of 200 steps and enjoy the wonderful view from the small terrace. Otherwise, if you are keen on diving, don’t miss this experience to explore the underwater life of this jewel: actinias, red gorgonians, starfish, sponges and corals!
Well, it’s time to say good-bye! Unfortunately, this time we are not sailing to Ginostra, but it’s the reason to go back soon!
*The photo - taken from internet site www.clarissaviaggi.it
“Eolie. Perle del Mediterraneo”, Edizioni Affinità Elettive – 2006;
“Sicilia. Guide Verdi d’Italia”, Touring Club Italiano – 2017;
“Il giro della Sicilia in 501 luoghi. L’isola come non l’avete mai vista”, Enzo Di Pasquale, Newton Compton Editori – 2014