Is­land liv­ing

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Find your in­ner zen float­ing in the Tyrrhe­nian Sea.

Among dra­matic land­scapes and crys­tal-clear wa­ters, de­li­cious. cre­ative di­rec­tor Hay­ley In­coll re­dis­cov­ers the art of lux­u­ri­ous leisure. And it’s all thanks to Salina, an is­land adding flavour to Italy’s Ae­o­lian ar­chi­pel­ago.

CHAS­ING THE SUN to a Euro­pean sum­mer is a favourite Aus­tralian pas­time for good rea­son. For me, all roads led to Italy. To swim in the salty Mediter­ranean, en­joy aper­i­tivo and graze on home­made Ital­ian food was just the restora­tive tonic I needed. I hopped from Sardinia to Si­cily, then on to the lesser-known, more hum­ble is­land of Salina. Here, I dis­cov­ered that a sim­pler, slower-paced life­style is some­times all that is needed… be­sides the warm sun and a day bed, of course.

Salina is one of seven charm­ing ‘sis­ters’ of the Ae­o­lian Is­lands in the Tyrrhe­nian Sea, north of Si­cily. Part of a UNESCO World Her­itage Cen­tre, the ar­chi­pel­ago also in­cludes Li­pari, Vul­cano, Alicudi, Filicudi, Panarea and Strom­boli, which all have their own unique forms (two of the is­lands are ac­tive vol­ca­noes) and of­fer end­less crys­tal-blue wa­ter for swim­ming, ver­dant moun­tain trails and coastal walks, mouth­wa­ter­ing cui­sine and lus­cious wines. With so many ac­tiv­i­ties and gas­tro­nomic of­fer­ings, you’d think the is­lands would be more high pro­file, yet they re­main a rel­a­tively low-key Ital­ian des­ti­na­tion.

The an­cient Greek name for Salina, ‘Didyme’ (mean­ing ‘twins’), refers to the two (now ex­tinct) vol­ca­noes that hover over its sleepy coastal towns. The is­land’s modern name de­rives from saline – its salt flats. The sec­ond-largest isle in the ar­chi­pel­ago, Salina is the most be­guil­ing, boast­ing boun­ti­ful land­scapes of olive groves and grape vines, all fed by nat­u­ral fresh­wa­ter springs. Na­ture is more or less un­spoilt, and once you ar­rive, you get an in­stant sense of tran­quil­lity among the is­land’s in­hab­i­tants.

That tran­quil­lity is partly thanks to the fact Salina isn’t your av­er­age Ital­ian tourist stop. A hand­ful of lux­ury ho­tels on the is­land are ac­com­pa­nied by a mod­est num­ber of restau­rants, winer­ies, spas and bou­tiques, all with a cer­tain rus­tic charm.

The stylish yet un­pre­ten­tious fam­i­ly­owned Principe di Salina ( Via Nazionale, 3, Malfa; princi­pedis­ is a white­washed moun­tain­side oa­sis with breath­tak­ing views across the sea, mak­ing it the most idyl­lic spot for a sun-kissed hol­i­day. Sit­u­ated near the town of Malfa, the ho­tel was built 10 years ago and com­pletely ren­o­vated and re-styled in 2017. The grace­ful arch­ing roofs and white linen blow­ing in the breeze make it al­most re­sem­ble a Greek is­land es­cape. Spread across four lev­els, with ex­ten­sive com­mon ar­eas, its 12 rooms fea­ture pri­vate ter­races over­look­ing the mes­meris­ing Mediter­ranean. Beau­ti­fully un­der­stated and down­right dreamy, you can sim­ply sit, star­ing out to sea and the other Ae­o­lian is­lands for hours, feel­ing a mil­lion miles away from ev­ery­thing else.

“Beau­ti­fully un­der­stated and down­right dreamy, you can sim­ply sit, star­ing out to sea for hours, feel­ing a mil­lion miles away.”

CLOCK­WISE (from above): Principe di Salina’s in­fin­ity pool; charm­ing vil­lages rise from the sea; crys­tal-clear wa­ters are per­fect for snorkelling and div­ing, trekking past sim­ple houses on the way to the fern forests. OP­PO­SITE: the dark vol­canic cliff...

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