AEOLIAN ISLANDS TO MAINLAND ITALY


The Aeolian Island archipelago, in the Tyrrhenian Sea, are volcanic in origin. Our first stop was Volcanu Island.

Volcanu Island

We anchored in front of the mud bath at Poto Di Livante (38.25N 14.57.7E) in 5 meters, good holding under a lunar looking landscape. We tried a swim in the nearby warm water off the back of the boat, but there were unidentified things floating all around and the bottom was so rocky that it was impossible to walk around the shallow water. A better option for swimming would be on the other side of Volcano, opposite the black sand beach, which was a more crowded anchorage. We only stayed one night because the sulphurous smell was almost unbearable
From Volcanu we made a stop at Lipari resort town for fuel (1.18 Euro) then anchored off the northern tip of the island (38.31.42N 14.57.39) rocky bottom, to time our sail to Stromboli for sunset.

Stromboli - The Oldest Lighthouse in the World

Stromboli, one of the most active volcanoes on the planet, one that's erupted almost continuously for the last 2,000 years. And yet, over 500 brave souls still live on this time bomb.

The weather was very settled and we were able to sail around close to Stromboli watching the volcano burp and spew red lava like a great fireworks display into the black sky, then the rocks tumbled down the mountain and splashed into the water with a thunderous sizzle. We spent several hours mesmerized.


Amalfi June 16

After 2 nights at sea, we arrived on mainland Italy on the Amalfi coast, absolutely stunningly beautiful as the setting sun washed the stacked houses with a fiery golden glow. The town stands in a deep valley on a coastline of jagged cliffs and hilltop watch towers.

No sooner had we reached the entrance than a dingy raced over to guide us into the marina, 60 euros per night. We explained that the fee was not in our  budget and he was kind enough to tell us that, if we waited until all the ferries left after 8pm, we could tie up to the ferry dock until 7 am, for free. So we temporarily anchored off the beach (apparently the coastguard will ask you to move if you try to spend the night at anchor) and moved over to the quay where there was lots of room and good protection.

It made it easy for us to go ashore that evening and walk around the lively streets crammed with restaurants and tavernas. We ventured over to the town wall, which only charges 30 Euros per night and arranged for a daytime berth for 15 Euros. This worked out well for us as we could safely leave the boat to make some bus trips to neighboring towns, returning that evening to move back to the ferry dock. It was an added bonus that we were only charged 10 Euro instead!

I really loved the architecture in Amalfi,
pastel washed houses and villas clinging
 to the cliffs above the bay, interspersed with terraces of grape vines and lemon trees.

The town of Amalfi was intriguing with its
labyrinth of alleyways and shops. Amalfi is very focused on their local lemons, which looks like a bigger, bumpier version of the lemons we are familiar with. The specialty is "Lemoncello" a potent alcohol made from the fruit. Also, lemon soap, lemon candles, clothing and textiles with lemon motif......

Amalfi is renoun for its villas belonging to the rich and famous. One night while we sat on our boat we are sure we saw the super model Tyra Banks escorted by her crew (complete with headphones and suits) walk right past us and get into a tender to go out to the mega yacht anchored just offshore.

Ravello June 17

We took a bus to Ravello, a lovely town set high on the mountainside above Amalfi. The views encompassing miles of rugged coastline were superb. Cliffs too sharply angled to be the foundations for buildings, yet somehow homes clung to the rock in layers

The rustic streets of Ravello where the buildings were built wider at the bottom for stability.

We loved the classic Italian town of Ravello, tucked in the Naples region. The views of the sea and hillside from this restored 11th-century palace, amid clusters of vineyards and lemon groves, are breathtaking.

We followed the rustic streets and stairways, passing the locked gates of ostentatious villas and gardens. We stumbled upon a grand hotel, where fashionably dressed guests were being dropped from limousines, each with an air of wealth. We felt very out of place! Ravello has long been a desired destination of the rich and famous and many first class movies were made there.


Since the anchorage near Positano is very exposed, we hopped on a bus from Amalfi and took a knuckle whitening ride on hairpin turns along the narrow cliffside road, the driver leaning on the horn around each turn that he took at breakneck speed. Views of the coastline were absolutely spectacular!

stacked Venetian style homes

Local life amidst the tourists

Overlooking the town and the exposed anchorage at Positano

Positano was very picturesque with Moorish styled houses packed tightly on a steep terraced hillside above a small bay with a domed church. A walk through town was up and down steep staircases through mazes of narrow alleys decked with bougainvillea.

Every street seems to contain an Art Gallery and numerous fashionable clothing outlets, Italian in design and price.

That evening, we moved back to the ferry dock in Amalfi, for free.