In 2015 we took 5.5 weeks away from our full time jobs and travelled; we visited Berlin, Monaco, Southern France (Saint Rémy de Provence, Sallèles-Cabardes, Gordes, Sète, Carcassone, Ruch & Saint Émilion), San Sebastián, Barcelona, Marrakech, before heading to Italy; Catania, Ragusa Ibla, Lipari, Alicudi, Palermo, Naples, Atrani, Amalfi, Positano, Capri, Roma, Florence, Radda in Chianti, Montepulciano, Cinque Terre & Venice.
The curiosity that came over us was like nothing we had ever experienced – we knew we wanted to see more of the world and definitely caught the travel bug!
Visiting Italy was extra special for us, both of Anthony’s Nonni (grandparents) are from Sicily, part of our visit was seeing where they use to live and painting the pictures for ourselves from their stories of Italian life!
Anthony’s Nonno Isidoro Taranto grew up on Alicudi, the smallest of the Aeolian Islands. Back then it was predominantly a fishing island with no electricity and one donkey, Nonno tells us stories of following the tides late at night to catch fish for his family, bare foot with his rope fishing net he would make his way down the steep terrain from the family house to the Ocean, sometimes the fishing gods would be generous he tells us. This is the true meaning of living off the land! Life back then was so connected to nature, the diet consisted of vegetables and bread from wheat they grew themselves – they needed plenty to last through the tough winters. He also speaks of olive trees for oil of course! His backyard was breathtaking, when we walked up the rock formed narrow stairs we were faced with Fichi d’India (prickly pear cactus fruit trees) at every turn, along with views in all directions from the island with the deepest blue ocean below, it’s truly a spectacular and surreal place. Today there are still no cars for commuting, but the optional helicopter pad for the more affluent that have made the island their little oasis.
To get here we flew into Catania, caught a bus to Milazzo port then hydrofoil boat to Lipari. Once the weather looked favourable we took the 3.5 hour hydrofoil ride to the island. The day we arrived it was easily 40+ degrees in the peak of Summer, and we had to climb the island to visit the house where Nonno Isidoro grew up and lived (about half way up the steep 675m island terrain above sea level). We made it and what an experience! And after many of the family before us, we followed the tradition of enscribing our name on the internal wall. Given it is no longer habited, we salvaged a piece of the original door hardware for family back home – the perfect Christmas gift!
After descending, we then spent the afternoon swimming, drinking granita’s and laying by the unique pebble shoreline of the ocean.