Located just to the north of Sicily, and to the west of Italy’s mainland, Lipari Island is the largest of the Aeolian's cluster. Florally-painted buildings line cobbled, plant-pot decorated streets - and glow attractively in the ever-present sunshine. The laid-back island atmosphere immediately washes over you, as you breathe in your first taste of the salty sea air. With tastebud-jangling pizza, palate-satisfying wines, and sparkling blue waters to behold - Lipari Island is a little slice of sensory heaven.
Head straight to the shore to soak up the rich blue hues of spots like Havana Beach - where shelves of turquoise are interrupted only by bobbing yachts and occasional swimmers. Hike the scenery, and look out across the archipelago to the fiery cone of Stromboli - one of three active volcanoes in Italy - which looms from the blue waters. Visit a winery, to admire the neat rows of vines, and taste the subtle flavours the grapes acquire from these fertile soils. Sip the wines, alongside fresh curls of ham and cheese.
Explore the town’s charms - such as the archaeological museum, which tells of a turbulent history in the clutches of major empires - before climbing the stone-stepped incline to the salmon pink Cathedral of San Bartolomeo. Beautiful frescoes spread across the roof, and you can admire the Norman cloisters, and silver statue of the island's patron saint, Saint Bartholomew. This statue is said to perform the miracle of changing its weight when required - notably when the fascist regime attempted to sell it - only to discover it was mysteriously featherlight and worthless. Lipari Castle's steeply banked walls add a crowning glory to this island of volcanic wonder.