Gita Italiana 2010: Visiting the Aeolian Islands from Calabria

From Sardinia yesterday, today we’re going to island hop with my fellow Calabria resident Cherrye Moore of My Bella Vita:

La Gita Italiana: Visiting the Aeolian Islands from Calabria

The idea of una gita Italiana is tempting, not only to our far-flung friends and family, but also for those of us who call this country home. I’ve written before about how deceptively difficult it is here in Calabria to pull yourself away and travel to other parts of the bel paese.

Not only is travel expensive and transportation slow, but since we live here, jobs, duties and responsibilities take precedent and unfortunately for the wanderlust in our hearts, travel plans are put on hold.

However, I recently heard of a — dare I say — easy, day trip you can take from several points in Calabria to the enchantingly beautiful Aeolian Islands.

Stromboli by Bartolomeo Perotta on Flickr

This mini-cruise day trip has been active for years, but in the past, passengers had to be in either Vibo Valentia or Tropea early in the morning to catch the boat for their day-long cruise. If they weren’t staying in these cities, they’d have to wake up even earlier, drive from their hotel or B&B, locate the marina, find appropriate parking-and still be ready to set sail by 6 or 7 AM.

Luckily, some of that has changed.

Travelers can now take a charter bus from almost 40 different bus stops across Calabria, on both the Ionian and Tyrrhenian coasts-and easily catch their morning departure in Vibo.

Vulcano by HOTC Media on Flickr

From Vibo Valentia, the cruise heads to Lipari-the largest and liveliest island, where you can visit the beaches, take a bus tour of the island or shop.

After a short break on Lipari, the ship sets sail for Vulcano, most known for its sulfuric mud baths.

After lunchtime, the cruise departs for its final stop-Stromboli, the second largest active volcano in Europe-after its Sicilian cousin, Etna-and home to the famous Sciara del Fuoco, which can only be seen on night tours of the islands.

Most people who have been to the Aeolian Islands agree you need to plan at least an overnight trip, but the mini-cruise is a fun way to sample the islands while providing day trippers with a memorable experience of these famous Sicilian islands.

Lipari by Michal Switala on Flickr


Cherrye Moore is an American freelance writer and Calabria tour consultant living in Catanzaro, Calabria. You can read about traveling in Calabria on her site, My Bella Vita, and also join her on a epicurean adventure via the Calabrian Table Tour in October.


Grazie mille Cherrye!

Be sure to come back tomorrow when we’ll be traveling to the opposite end of the boot — to Piemonte!

22 Beans of Wisdom to “Gita Italiana 2010: Visiting the Aeolian Islands from Calabria”
  1. Gil

    Another great sounding idea for a trip. I seem to remember one of my young cousins that works in Naples saying that this is one of the places she is going this month besides work.

    Fun! Wouldn’t it be nice to take this virtual tour more literally? 😉

  2. 08.18.2010

    Love Cherrye! She’s the perfect ambassador for Calabria and is so knowledgeable. This makes me want to (oh no) close the B&B (didn’t say that, really) and come one down for the last moments of southern Italian summer at its peak. Brava.

    Fabulous new site design, Michelle!!

    Thanks Diana, and I wholeheartedly agree about Cherrye 🙂

  3. 08.18.2010

    I went to Salina (one of the seven Aeolian islands) last year for a wedding. It was as beautiful as you can imagine but what an adventure to get there! I was not in Calabria but in the north east of Italy and it was not easy to say the least… trains, planes, automobiles, boats, you name it… but we made it on time for the wedding and it was definitely worth it!

    Sounds so romantic too, Keren! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. 08.18.2010

    Love the new look & logo!! Brava Michelle!
    I visited Salina and it was love at first sight. It was many years ago, I idn’t know if you could reach it via mainland then. Knowing that we can now hop over there from Vibo is excellent news!
    Hopefully the recent earthquake and landslide won’t deter travelers from going there.

    Ciao and again COMPLIMENTI!!

    Grazie mille Eleonora 🙂

  5. Sandy

    I love the new look! Your blog is always so fun to read. Love it!

    Thanks Sandy!

  6. 08.18.2010

    Oh how I’d love to be there right now. Thanks for me taking me there virtually.

    My (our) pleasure 🙂

  7. 08.18.2010


    Thanks Ellen!

  8. 08.18.2010

    Thank you for taking me on this gorgeous ‘vacation’ – it all sounds so beautiful! And I love the new look! Brava!

    Thanks Beth!

  9. Caterina B

    Doesn’t it make a difference if you have family in Calabria?
    I have often thought about finding out about my oldest son’s relatives in Calabria and he and I traveling there for him to “discover his roots.” His father’s ( he’s now deceased) family emigrated quite a while ago but there are some relatives in Denver that have information and have actually visited cousins there, in Reggio, I think. I just can’t put this idea to rest. Maybe I’m more curious than my son is!

    Caterina, it can be an absolutely wonderful experience. Have you read Justin Catanoso’s My Cousin the Saint? It’s in my Amazon Store, and I highly recommend it. Justin writes about what it’s like for him to travel to Reggio to meet his long-lost family 🙂

  10. 08.18.2010

    As much time as I’ve spent in the south (& in Sicily), Michelle, I’ve yet to make it to any of the Aeolian islands. Terrific to know that it’s more “do-able” (esp. as I hate depending on people to drive me about.) I’ll visit Cherrye, absolutely. One more thing on the to-do list & it’s most welcome.

    Oh & yes, I echo your lovely readers above: charming & elegant new design of the site.

    xo from Susan

    Thanks Susan! I haven’t been to the islands either…must remedy that indeed!

  11. 08.18.2010

    Wow I love your new site …. I need to get off Blogger and on to WordPress… toooo scared to change though.. !

    I love reading about Italy .. and I have just discovered a long lost cousin , who lives in Grado .. right up North . nearly on the border of Solvenia .. and her daughter lives near Milan, and her son lives near Rome 🙂

    I was scared to switch from Blogger too…one of the best decisions I’ve ever made though, Anne! How cool that you found a cousin 😀

  12. 08.19.2010

    Vulcano looks absolutely other-worldly. I’d love to go there some day.

    Me too, Jen!

  13. Laura

    I also spent time on Salina – we took a ferry from Reggio Calabria- it was one of the roughest trips I have ever taken, but it was worth it when we arrived! We stayed at hotel Signum –
    I highly recommend it – even if only for one night!

    Thanks Laura! Always great to get a personal recommendation for a place 🙂

  14. Mary Floridia-Rankin

    Love the look of your new site, Michelle….perky and pretty and winsome..

    I’m enjoying visiting all these places you are taking us to..what a great idea.

    Thanks, Michelle

    Mary Floridia-Rankin

    Glad you’re enjoying Mary!

  15. awedree


    Reading your blog today was like music to my ears. I can totally relate to not being able, for various reasons including financial/work, to travel. I have a vacation coming up and was actually going to visit the bel paese but in fact am not able to 🙁 However, it is so nice to follow La Gita. Thanks for bringing bel paese to me 🙂

    So happy to guide this tour 😀

  16. Glad you all enjoyed our virtual visit to the Aeolian Islands today!

    @ Diane-do it, do it! 🙂 If not in August, then maybe in September?? It is usually nice here in Sept, as well!

    @ Caterina-Most of our B&B guests and consulting clients are here in Calabria visiting family or researching roots. Sounds like a great-and “doable” idea you have for you and your son.

    @ Susan-I’m with you. I love that the bus can pick you up and drive you there, too, so you don’t have to 1) relocate hotels for a night or 2) wake up super early and worry about driving yourself and parking!

  17. thanks for this write up. I knew you could get there from Sicilia, but it never occurred to me that you could get there from Tropea!

    I didn’t realize either, Mimi!

  18. 08.19.2010

    As if I didn’t have enough places on my ‘to visit when I move to Calabria’ list, Cherrye! This looks gorgeous. I shall definitely have to fit this one in sooner rather than later …

    That’s the spirit, Katja!

  19. Vanessa LOW

    Hi Michelle, just wanted to let your readers (and you) know that if they want to stay longer than just the day you can get the ferry/ aliscafi from Reggio Calabria direct. Considering there are 7 islands, a day is just far too short…..
    Link is:

    Summer hours there are 2-3 per day, ‘winter’ (from sept 15 onwards) there is a much reduced service that mainly benefits islanders who work on the ‘mainland’ of Sicily or Calabria. There may also be other companies but this is the main one. There are also organised day trips from numerous places in Sicily (Messina, Milazzo, Taormina) if anyone happens to be going from here.

    Thanks Vanessa!

  20. Giovanna

    Michelle, I just spent a week in Lipari and spent every day at a different island…I recommend you make this trip for real!

    Believe me, I’d love to do it Giovanna! Thanks for coming by 🙂

  21. 08.16.2012
  1. [...] out my post today at Bleeding Espresso’s Gita Italiana-we’re talking about getting to Sicily...



Homemade apple butter
Green beans, potatoes, and pancetta
Glazed Apple Oatmeal Cinnamon Muffins
Pasta with snails alla calabrese
Onion, Oregano, and Thyme Focaccia
Oatmeal Banana Craisin Muffins
Prosciutto wrapped watermelon with bel paese cheese
Fried eggs with red onion and cheese
Calabrian sausage and fava beans
Ricotta Pound Cake