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Islands and Arcipelagos

Salina in the Aeolian Islands, Sicily, Italy

The Island of Salina

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Salina (Aeolian Islands)In the 1995 film Il Postino, Mario Ruoppolo, the gentle postman of the title, tells the poet Pablo Neruda that “poetry doesn’t belong to those who write it; it belongs to those who need it.” Set and partly filmed on the island of Salina, one of the beautiful Aeolian Islands, Il Postino proved to be an enormous international success. It is surprising then how little this worldwide fame has changed the island which remains, apart from being arguably the most beautiful of the islands, one of the least affected by a wave of VIP tourism that has seen the private yachts of people such as Jennifer Lopez, Tom Cruise, Sting and Mike Tyson mooring off Lipari, Panarea and Stromboli.

Salina is a green and fertile land, home to around 2,500 people, 400 different types of plants and topographically characterised by its twin (inactive) volcanoes, Monte Fossa delle Felci and Monte dei Porri that gave the island its original Greek name "Didyme" meaning twins. At 965 and 860 metres respectively, these conical mountains provide excellent walking, a refuge from the August heat and stunning views.

Gastronomically, Salina is best known for three products: fish, capers and a sweet dessert wine called Malvasia delle Lipari (See accompanying article for more information). Capers are an essential ingredient to much of the local cooking, adding a certain piquancy to fish dishes, and are often combined in recipes with anchovies and olives. Traditionally the island’s capers were preserved in salt gathered from a small salt lake (salina in Italian – hence the island’s modern name) situated south of the town of Santa Marina.

The surrounding sea is, as one might expect, simply beautiful. Though many of the beaches are rocky rather than sandy, the water is extremely clean and home to a wide variety of sea animals, plants, caves and submerged volcanic craters. The bay at Pollara (where several scenes of Il Postino was filmed) is one of the most splendid in the entire Aeolian archipelago.

So, if you’re in need of a break, a little relaxation, good food and wine and a few days of sea and sunshine, remember that Salina doesn’t belong to those who live there; it belongs to those who need it. 

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A funny thing happened to me when I was in Salina....

(A Think Sicily client's experience in Salina)

"This is the funniest story of the holiday which shows how "laid back” Salina is. We took a hydrofoil to Stromboli one day and on our return early evening to Salina decided to get a taxi as one was sitting at the taxi rank at the port. Unfortunately there was no driver.

We waited for 30 minutes and there was still no driver. Eventually some of the local worthies sitting on the wall, as they do, decided to help us out and wandered up and down the street shouting the taxi driver's name. This included long delays whilst they checked out the nearest bars!

Still no driver so one of them pulled out a mobile and phoned the driver's number which was on the side of the taxi. We didn't understand much but got the drift of the conversation which seemed to be that the driver couldn't be bothered working that night.

The ever helpful locals now decided that we should get the bus which would be along in 10 minutes. Sure enough along came the bus which the continually helpful folks escorted us to. However it was going to Lingua – totally the wrong direction - so the driver told us to wait and said, "Another bus would be along in 10 minutes for Malfa".

Sure enough 10 minutes later along came exactly the same bus with exactly the same driver with a huge grin on his face. Stuff like that makes a holiday an experience not just a holiday".