Teatro arena di Taormina and Mount Etna in the distance, Sicily, Italy
ERUPTING STROMBOLI Nothing quite prepares you for witnessing a real magma eruption from an active volcano, and when we rounded the Aeolian island of Stromboli in the early evening the following day to witness the brilliant scarlet larva tossed into the air in the dark sky, we were delighted. The day started early with an hour’s drive to Messina, followed by an hour’s boat trip to our first stop on the island of Panarea, with its white buildings clustered around a black sandy beach. Here, colorful fishing boats were drawn on shore after the early morning catch. Bars, restaurants, and cafés offered plenty of refreshment and time to sit and soak up the awesome view. We opted to take the opportunity to explore the island with the aid of a golf cart and driver for around 30 euros. After another hour back on board, we reached Stromboli. We stopped off the shore to witness the bubbles from underwater eruptions and smell the sulphur, before we cruised between giant islands of basalt thrust up during activity many years ago. We spent an hour ashore, and then as dusk fell, we boarded the boat again to sail round the island to witness the pulsating pyrotechnic display that Stromboli offers its visitors. GODFATHER COUNTRY For many, Sicily is synonymous with the Godfather trilogy created by Francis Ford Coppola, and his movies are immortalised in the places where filming took place. Savoca and the surrounding countryside is the number-one shrine to their memory. There are many tours on offer, but we hired a car to explore the Godfather trilogy ourselves. At the Bar Vitelli, we sat and drank a lemon granita. It was the location where Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) met Mr. Vitelli (the bar owner) and asked his permission to court his daughter, Apollonia. It was also the location for the official engagement and for the party after the wedding ceremony. Some of the interior was stuffed with memorabilia and images, and opposite, the view showed the Church of Santa Lucia, where the wedding between Michael Corleone and Apollonia took place. Next stop was Forza D’Agrò then back to Taormina, where we met our host for our Sicilian gourmet food and wine tour.
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