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; principedisalina.it) 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...