Gronda And Friend’s 2016 May Sojourn In Taormina, Sicily, Part IV

As I mentioned in a prior blog, with the assistance of Villa Schuler’s concierge services, we also booked tours to two of the Aeolian Islands, Panarea and Stromboli and to Mt. Etna. The local tour company  that would be transporting us to these destinations was “SAT Sicilian Airbus Travel Group, Corso Umberto, 73, tel. 0039-0942 24653;

Map of Aeolian Islands
Map of Aeolian Islands

Here are the SAT bus advertisements about these trips:

Tour for Panarea and Stromboli- Aeolian Islands Cost of 90 euros pp…(pick up at 10:00 am)

“Suggestive mini cruise to explore two of the most famous Aeolian Islands, UNESCO world heritage site since 2000: the elegant Panarea and the volcanic Stromboli. Panarea is very famous for its fine architecture and the patronage of the international jet-set, and Stromboli, island od a characteristic conical shape, is dominated by a perpetually active volcano. Departure by bus with Tour Leader to the port of Milazzo and proceeding on board a private- owned motorboat towards Panarea. Leisure time ashore to visit a typical village, or to enjoy the beach and have lunch(extra). Back on board again and sail around the rocks in front of Panarea. Transfer to Stromboli to land for a tour of the island until sunset. Return on board and light dinner with a typical Aeolian pasta dish with drinks included. Visit from the seaof the “Sciara del Fuoco,” with its spectacular explosions weather permitting. Return in the late evening depending on sunset time.”

Panarea Aeolian Islands
Panarea Aeolian Islands

The following is Lonely Planet’s description of Panarea (Aeolian Islands):

“Exclusive and expensive, Panarea is the smallest and most fashionable of the Aeolians, attracting international jet-setters and Milanese fashionistas for a taste of dolce far niente (sweet nothing). In summer, luxury yachts fill the tiny harbour and flocks of day-trippers traipse around the car-free whitewashed streets of San Pietro, the port and principal settlement. Panarea is a strictly summer-only destination with very little going on outside the tourist season”

I fell in love with Panarea. Perhaps it is because we explored the streets of this gorgeous island with its Greek/ Arab influenced structures in May before the peak summer tourist season, that I did not find it to be overly expensive. We ate lunch at Panarea Bakery where the food was absolutely delicious and affordable. I did most of my personal clothes shopping at Alla Sarta Ana’s. Her taste was excellent and her prices were reasonable. I am still upset over a hat purchased here, that I lost while rushing down steps to catch a train.


PANAREA 20160517_151053 000

panarea bakery 20160517_151113
Panarea Bakery


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ALLA SARTA ANA BOUTIQUE/ Note the blue hat

panarea ana hat20160517_151252

Here is Lonely Planet’s commentary on Stromboli:

stromboliboat1“For many the most captivating of the Aeolians, Stromboli conforms perfectly to one’s childhood idea of a volcano, with its symmetrical, smoking silhouette rising dramatically from the sea. It’s a hugely popular day-trip destination, but to best appreciate its primordial beauty, languid pace and the romance that lured Roberto Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman here in 1949, you’ll need to give it at least a couple of days.”

There is the main village that all the tourists see upon debarking from their boats, but they are others on the island. Upon landing, there is a jetty for ferries and some places to buy refreshments at the village of Scari. Booths marketing boat tours and volcano excursions dot the waterfront and it is easy to find the starting lane climbing up to the winding streets of Stromboli village. As you walk along the beach, there is a picturesque stretch of a shingle beach, where fishing boats are pulled up on the volcanic sand and pebbles. Uphill, along narrow lanes, past souvenir shops, and flowers clambering over whitewashed buildings, visitors will find the piazza called San Vincenzo. The island’s main church, the Chiesa di San Vincenzo presents itself as a photo op against the slopes of the volcano. There is also a cafe and a nearby terrace with a  panoramic view.

Stromboli-6 townAs you descend the steps of the main piazza, San Vincenzo, there is a reddish home with a plaque indicating that this is where Ingrid Bergman and Roberto Rossellini carried on their scandalous affair (both were married to others) during the filming of the 1949 movie, Stromboli.

Home of Ingrid Bergman and Robert Rosselini
Home of Ingrid Bergman and Robert Rossellini

In the evening, we had dinner on the boat while the boat coasted around the volcano until we finally saw some activity.

Here are some more photos of Stromboli:

Inside San Vincenzo Church
Inside San Vincenzo Church


Stromboli5 fishing boats

Stromboli-10 donkeystromboli-1 volanic activity

Etna Basic Tour (Cost is 35 euros pp, 90 euros for ascent to the top)

“Excursion to the volcano Etna, the highest in Europe with its 3,350 meters, as well as UNESCO site since 2013. Departure by bus with Tour Leader and arrival at the “Rifugio Sapienza” at 1900 meters. Stop with the possibility of soft trekking to visit the most recent lava flows and the Silvestri craters, now extinct. Facultative ascent by cable car up to 2,500 meters and continuing on board jeeps up to the authorized crater zones at approximately 3,000 meters with the assistance of licensed Guides of the CAI (Italian Alpine Club); a stop to admire the eventual activity of the summit ctraters in a safety zone according to weather conditions.”

Mount Etna Photo by David Smith
Mount Etna Photo by David Smith

We did arrive at the “Rifugio Sapienza” at 1900 meters. At this level, we did explore the Silvestri craters, now extinct. We decided against going to the summit but many of the group did choose to do this adventure which involved taking cable cars and then jeeps to have a closer view of the active volcanic craters, at a safe distance. Instead after studying the craters at this lower level, we did some shopping for items made with lava rock, and then we hung out at a chalet style structure.

Related Article:

Alla Sarta Ana Boutique – Women’s Clothing – Via Lani – Panarea … › Shopping › Fashion › Women’s Clothing Yelp Rating: 3 – ‎1 review – ‎Price range: €€ 1 review of Alla Sarta Ana Boutique “I’m not a love of boutiques for womenswear, accessories and children’s clothes, as anyone who has ever dragged me …