238 Reviews

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October, 2018

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Could this have been where Odysseus landed after the Strait of Messina, surviving Scylla and Charybdis? Our journey was on a calm day with blue sea, but the return was more of a problem. As one passenger suggested, it’s when there are fish in the waves coming past the window you worry.

Between the two, however, it was mostly idyllic. We were met at the port and driven to our hotel, from where we discovered a short if steep walk down to another, smaller harbour. On the quayside were bars and restaurants; beyond was a castle on a cliff. The following day we were able to explore both.

Everything is quiet. There are shops and restaurants but nobody is hustling you to buy or eat. Boats pull in, either to disembark excursion passengers or unload fish. Fishermen who have finished the day’s work quietly check and repair nets. It was a delight to sit with a glass of wine and the generous provision of nuts and olives while experiencing the atmosphere.

When we thought of eating we wandered uphill on cobbles. There was no traffic to be bothered by. We found Enoteca Essepiu (one word standard Italian the other dialect) and arranged to return at 7pm for dinner.

Shops were the kind expected in tourist resorts anywhere but with an upmarket feel, especially the clothing shops. The streets are narrow and a few of them are steep. The road to the castle was the steepest but worth climbing. It leads to the town hall and the museum with an attractive square and sea views.

Our meal that evening was splendid, its highlight a sweet and sour casserole of tuna. A couple of hours well worth spending with a good bottle of wine in accompaniment. As an enoteca its selection is of the highest quality. The owner is so proud of it he showed us his catalogue of wines from all over Italy. If Jamie Oliver’s recent TV series looked at the artisan food of the Aeolian Islands this was the arty end.

In various places around the town there are the remains of ancient civilisations, Greek and Roman but prehistoric too. Most are on view behind fences so there is no need to pay an entrance fee. Everyday life goes on around them.

Perhaps not for a long holiday, Lipari and its neighbours – the boat called at Vulcano on the return journey to the mainland – are well worth visiting for a few days, especially if the aim is to enjoy good food.


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