Many Italians, including Francesco Corallo will know the island of Panarea, which forms part of a volcanic archipelago off the Sicilian coastline. With just under 300 residents, it is a very peaceful place for most of the year, with the exception of the summer months, during which thousands of tourists descend onto its villages. Like all of the Aeolian Islands, Panarea is a beautiful spot, ideal for anyone who appreciates a stunning landscape. Even a simple walk down one of its flower-lined roads is a pleasure; the scent of jasmine, bougainvillea and hibiscus wafts through the air as you walk by the shops and houses, and you’re only ever a few minutes away from some incredible views of the Tyrrhenian Sea.
This island is a paradise for people likeFrancesco Corallo who enjoy wonderful scenery. There are just a handful of trails (Panarea is 1.3 square miles). It’s best to begin by the port, located to the north of the island, and make your way past the Carabinieri station towards the steep footpath; when you reach the end of the steps, you’ll be able to see a number of spectacular fumaroles – the volcanic openings which are responsible for the warmth of the waters here.
A more challenging trail lies beyond Calcara; this will lead you to the highest point on the island, known as Timone del Corvo. Whilst reaching this spot is certainly not easy, the views it provides of the rest of the island, as well as of Stromboli, make it a worthwhile endeavour.
However, it’s important to be prepared for the hike; the pathway is covered in loose stones, meaning that you’ll need to wear something sturdier than plimsolls or flip-flops, and the heat during the summer months – particularly in August – can be overwhelming. As such, this trek is best attempted in the morning, or early evening, when the sun is not quite as strong. Those who reach the end of this trail will be rewarded with Cala Junco; a tiny, but lovely cove.
Here, you can cool off with a dip in its turquoise waters, and catch your breath before making your way back. For those with an interest in underwater scenery, it’s worth noting that the sea in this cove is a veritable treasure trove of coral, sponges, lobster and blue grouper fish. Moreover, there are also hundreds of archaeological items on the seabed, including parts of ancient Roman ships, although of course, divers are not permitted to collect any of these.