A Hike to the Gran Cratere of Vulcano and a Magical Evening

Another 15 minutes further on the west side of the island we stopped at an abandoned kaolin quarry. Kaolin is a silica-based mineral that is used in the production of ceramics, as a food additive and even as an ingredient in toothpaste. Everything was blooming around here, and yellow and purple flowers lit up the crags overlooking the sea.

Everything was in bloom

At the southern tip of Lipari we stopped on a parking lot beside a private village and had a phenomenal view of the nearby island of Vulcano. We could even see the columns of sulphur fumes emanating from the fissures near the crater of this still active volcano. A flat stretch of land called Vulcanello is located in front of the main island of Vulcano. This part of the island appeared only about 2000 years ago in a volcanic eruption. Volcanism is still reshaping the earth all around here.

Sculpture of Christ near the Chiesa Vecchia di Quattropani

We had seen almost every corner of this small island and Pasquale dropped us off near downtown Lipari. This guided tour provided by a local expert was a great way of getting to know the island of Lipari. Claudia and I headed straight for an outdoor restaurant on the piazza by Marina Corta and had a well-deserved lunch and another nice stroll through town before we started to head back to our sailboat.

View of Milazzo from the north

Around 3 pm we said goodbye to Lipari and set sail for our next destination: Vulcano. On our way our skipper Francesco took us past some very interesting rock formations at the southern end of Lipari. One protruding rock column was reminiscent of a praying pope while several tall isolated rocks grew right out of the sea in front of Lipari. We circled around to the eastern side of Vulcano and dropped anchor in the bay in front of Porto di Levante, the only landing place on the island. Several ferry boats were making their entries to and exits from the bay, and several other sailboats were anchored at a distance from the island.

Interesting rock formations

Now it was time for our Italian lesson: for two hours in the late afternoon Claudia, Agnieszka and I were studying concepts such as the Italian Condizionale as well as the Congiuntivo under the guidance of our expert teacher Franco. You would definitely be hard-pressed to find a more stimulating environment to study Italian than a sailboat anchored in a beautiful bay in Southern Italy.

Sailboats anchored in front of the island of Vulcano

The wonderful thing about this sailing trip has been so far that it has been a nearly perfect immersion in Italian, where we are hearing the language all day and both our teachers communicate only in Italian with us. This concept is as close to full immersion as one can imagine, and the learning process is very intense and fast.

What a sunset!

For the evening we stayed on the boat and watched a beautiful sunset which bathed the entire scene in hues of pink and purple. After our on-board dinner we retreated outside where Agnieszka, a gifted singer, and Franco, a great guitar player, teamed up and entertained us with many different soulfully delivered classics.

Our talented guitarist and singer: Franco and Agnieszka

Sitting on a sailboat at night, by candlelight, in the beautiful bay of Vulcano, listening to the touching melodies of two gifted artists, was a magical, almost spiritual experience. I knew tomorrow was going to be our last day on this sailing trip, but I didn’t want this moment to end…..

A magical evening…

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