Lipari is the largest and busiest of the Aeolian islands, a group of islands found off the coast of Sicily. Lipari is also the island that has plenty to do year round. Last month I spent a few days exploring with my friend Trish, an Australian with a long family history on the island, my dutch blogging pal Saskia and Abruzzo expert Sam. Here are ten great things to see, do and eat on the island of Lipari.
Cannoli at Pasticceria Giovanni D'Ambra
Vico Morfeo 50
We started a very rainy morning in this tiny pastry shop tucked into a tiny corner. Owners, Giovanni and his wife immediately started making cappuccinos and pulling out intricately decorated sweet treats from behind the glass case so that we could get the perfect Instagram shot. Frutta Martorana, made with sweet almond paste were shaped into bunches of grapes, pomegranates, eggplants, even arancini. Light green cassata were toped with a single glistening red candies cherry. Cannolis were filled with just barely sweet ricotta cream (The sign of a truly great cannoli place is stacks of freshly fried EMPTY cases that are only filled to order) and a dusting of just barely salty pistachios and presented on a gold foil tray. I am still thinking about those cannoli.
Buy a Colorful Beach Bag at La Casa Eoliana.
via Garibaldi 47
I wanted literally every single thing in this store. The Francesca Parisi collaborates with local artists to create modern pieces from traditional designs. Straw bags are decorated with colorful pompoms and hammered brass disks. Intricate earrings set with tiny seed pearls, cherry woven bracelets and necklaces that incorporate the traditional heart design of the islands are just the start of the pretty items on sale in this sliver of a shop.
Visit the Archeological Museum
via del Castello
The Museo Archeologico de Lipari on top of the part of the island known as the Castello is filled with an impressive collection of ancient treasures. From begin with the Bronze age structures outside the museum wall and move to the tombs from the IV to III centuries BC. Room after room of Roman era statues, jewelry, and tools enthrall the history buff.
Have a drink at Il Giardino di Lipari
This vast garden has lots of comfy places to sit under sparkly lights that wind around trees with lush leaves. We ordered classic Italian apperitivo cocktails like negronis and Campari spritz that came with a nice assortment of salty, crunch things to snack on.
Have a plate of pasta and a glass of wine at Trattoria da Bartolo.
via Garibaldi 53
This simple trattoria with it's welcoming staff has plenty of tables lining the buzzy via Garibaldi or inside the cozy dining room where you can order some of the islands best pizzas and pasta dishes. I had a very delicious paccheri with pistachios and the rest of the table raved about their pizzas.
Spend an Elegant Evening Dining at Kasbah Cafe.
Vico Seminante n. 45
Most of my beach locale dining consists of very simple places where bikinis and barefoot are the dress code. Kasbah Cafe is the place where you can wear that fancy dress and high heels that you packed. Sleek concrete and glass design contrast the with warm welcome. The menu is modern dishes made with local ingredients. I ordered a couple small plates; fish grilled on a slab of local lava rock tat was crispy on the outside and perfectly tender inside and was atop a creamy flavorful potato mash; a bright salad with avocado, basil, tuna and tomatoes; and a salad that starred the just in season thinly shaved porcini. The dasserts list is decadent. I liked the rich chocolate tart and a light and creamy lemon tiramisu.
People have been having long wine filled lunches here for over a hundred years. We sat outside under a shady pergola and tried not to fill up on the warm rolls that are scented with local pistachios or capers. Pasta was a oregano flecked ragu. Soon an enormous grilled fish was being presented and filleted at our table. We drank Sicilian white wine and strong cups of espresso and wished the afternoon would never end.
Meet the Sculptor Giovanni Spada
corso Vittorio Emanuele 199
This Lipari native has been commissioned by some of the most important sites in Italy to restore ancient sculptures. At his shop on the via Corso Vittorio Emanuele he has replicas of some of his work as well as tiny but elaborate terra-cotta masks of Greco-Roman gods and goddesses, (most importantly to Lipari Eolo, the god of wind) and traditional Sicilian Mallorca glazed pottery.
Sit a spell in Marina Corte
There is always something happening in this pretty seaside piazza no matter the time of day. Lined on one side with cafes and the harbor on the other, watch kids playing football, fishermen untangling their nets and smaller boats coming and going.
Stroll the via del Corso Emanuele and via Garibaldi
The Italian tradition of the passigiatta is a wonderful thing. Take a long slow walk up from the Marina Corte along the via Garibaldi and loop back around by way of the long straight via del Corso Emmanuel, stopping to shop, have a quick coffee or cannoli or maybe even a spritz.