Filicudi Island: A Volcanic Paradise
The Most Magnetic Of The Aeolian Islands
Wild, difficult to reach, far from the tourist flow that populates all other Aeolian Islands (except Alicudi), Filicudi is a secret hideaway known to few. It is not an island for everyone, but those who love it love it passionately. Its unspoiled nature, the mule tracks scented of capers, the dolphins and sea turtles, the warm and clear waters, the cliffs and the sunsets over the sea. If you are looking for trendy nightclubs, this is not your island. But if you are looking for an authentic Italian experience, welcome home.
Penultimate-largest of the Aeolian Islands, Filicudi is listed among UNESCO World Heritage sites for its outstanding volcanic characteristics. In this respect the Sicilian archipelago is indeed unique in the world. Filicudi is the first island to be emerged from the waters in the eruption that 1 million years ago created the Aeolian Islands. Here you can see the layers of lava rock that stretch into the sea and the impressive lava flow (the Sciara del Fuoco) that the volcano has created thousands of years ago.
Compared to the sister islands, Filicudi has a very easygoing atmosphere. No high heels shoes, here a sarong can be enough for a whole day and often for the evening. The island is quite buzy in the two middle weeks of August, when the starry nights are invaded by the music of the parties. Very quiet the rest of the year, when only the locals and some affectionate foreigners inhabit the island. Fun in summer and beautiful in spring, when a green mantle covers it. A gem off the beaten path.
The trip to Filicudi is quite long (by ferry or hydrofoil from Palermo, Milazzo or Naples), but once you get here moving is simple. In fact on the island there is only one paved road linking the port to the village of Pecorini Mare. The ideal is to rent a car or a scooter directly on the island. There is no public transport, but you will find some taxis. The district of Zucco Grande is accessible only on foot.
To the north of Sicily, the island of Filicudi is part of the archipelago of the Aeolian Islands, second last in order of size. It is dominated by Mount Fossa Felci, an extinct volcano of 773 mt. But this small island of 9.5 km2 hosts other 7 inactive volcanoes. The best known is Capo Graziano, the head of Filicudi. The shores are rocky and the climate warmly Mediterranean.
The natural beauty of Filicudi is unmatched: extinct volcanoes, ravishing sea stucks, huge sea caves, ancient lava flows, warm lapis-lazuli waters and enchanting paths in the greenery. Dolphins and sea turtles. Not to mention the natural show offered by the other islands, as Stromboli with its constant puffs of smoke. Naturalistically outstanding.
Filicudi is a natural paradise with some secret cultural jewels. Not only the typically Aeolian fishing village of Pecorini a Mare, but also the rural contrada of Val di Chiesa and the abandoned village of Zucco Grande. But first of all Filicudi is home to one of the oldest prehistoric settlements of the Aeolian archipelago, the neolithic village of Capo Graziano. Not to be missed.
Top 5 Things To Do in Filicudi
Capo Graziano Promontory
300 meter above sea level, the volcanic promontory of Capo Graziano is the head of the island of Filicudi, which some people say is shaped like a turtle, other like a pregnant woman. Climb the scenic path that goes up on the promontory to the ruins of the prehistoric village and enjoy the view of the Aeolian Islands. On the way back go for a swim in Le Punte, the beautiful pebble beach located at the foot of Capo Graziano. Divers with at least a Level II patent will also be able to visit the Submarine Archaeological Museum of Capo Graziano, where lie many as 9 ancient shipwrecks and tens of ancient amphorae. To visit the underwater park guidance is needed.
Le Punte Beach
Located at the southern end of the island, at the foot of the promontory of Capo Graziano, Le Punte is the most beautiful beach of Filicudi. The beach is reached through a path not far from the port. It is a pebble not-equipped beach, wild and very suggestive. The path continues along the sunny coast, where there are beautiful bays of rounded volcanic rocks, smoothed by erosion. The sea is extraordinarily transparent and takes all the shades of turquoise and green. On the horizon stands the island of Alicud and behind you Capo Graziano, where with a little luck you can see the wild goats that inhabit the headland. The other 2 beaches are in Filicudi Porto and Pecorini.
Every day a different sunset. Every day, at the western end of the island, the belvedere of Stimpagnato offers an unforgettable free show. The sun plunges into the sea and flares up a breathtaking view: the rugged coast of Filicudi, the rock of La Canna and the island of Alicudi, with its perfect volcanic shape, colored in all shades of red, orange and pink. The Stimpagnato belvedere can be reached through a path that starts not far from Pecorini a Mare. In summer you might not be alone, but we recommend to bring a glass of chilled wine to toast to the splendor of the Aeolian Islands. The place to be at sunset, dedicated to the incurable romantics and the true nature lovers.
The Sea Cow Cave
According to legend, the Sea Caw Cave (Grotta del Bue Marino) has been for some time the abode of the god Aeolus. This extraordinary sea cave owes its name to a colony of sea lions that until a few decades ago lived here. Located on the north west of the island, accessible only by sea, it is one of the largest caves of the Aeolian Islands (20 meters high and 30 deep). You can enter the cave by swimming or by small boats. Inside you will see stalactites and stalagmites and at the bottom a small pebble beach. Admire the amazing colored reflections that the light creates on the water, which is why the cave is particularly famous, and listen to the sounds in the great vault. It is said to resemble the roar of a sea lion.
La Canna Stack
Symbol of Filicudi, the sea stack La Canna, 74 meters, is a must. It is located not far from the Sea Caw Cave, in front of Siccagni contrada, visible from Stimpagnato belvedere. La Canna is what remains of the last volcanic eruption of Filicudi, about 40,000 years ago, and of the slow erosion activities. A tower of magma solidified and then carved by wind and currents. On this extraordinary stack lives the rare lizard of the Aeolian Islands, a species almost endemic of La Canna and endangered, and nests the hawk of the queen. The waters are very clear and the seabed drops sharply in depth a few meters from the stack. Come here for a swim, to take a nap in the shade of the stack or to enjoy the sunset.
Mount Fossa Felci
Not only sea. Filicudi is an island with a secret, the beautiful inland, to visit also out of season. Among the trekking not to be missed, the best is to Fossa Felci, the peak of the island, the top of the ancient volcano (774 meters). Up here there is a different microclimate, cool even in August. Even the vegetation is different, full of strawberry trees, heather, giant chestnut trees and ferns (hence the name). The trail to Fossa Felci leaves from Valdichiesa contrada, but you can also start from Filicudi Porto and reach Valdichiesa through the mule tracks. It is a moderately difficult trail, decidedly uphill. From the top you will enjoy a breathtaking view of the archipelago of the Aeolian Islands and the coast of Sicily.
Pecorini a Mare
On the southern coast, Pecorini A Mare has preserved the magical atmosphere of a typical Aeolian fishing village. White houses, narrow streets and characteristic stairs that climb the mountain, the pier and the pebble beach. Do not miss the appointment for a sunset drink at the Saloon, the legendary winery by ’zu Nino’ (uncle Nino) that continues to pour Malvasia from the late’ 50s to the sailors of the Aeolian islands. Beside the best Filicudi restaurant, La Sirena, with its romantic terrace on the sea. In Pecorini you will also find grocery stores, two lovely boutiques, scooter and boat rentals and the Filicudi Wildlife Conservation dedicated to the monitoring of sea turtles.
Val di Chiesa
Val di Chiesa is the highest contrada of Filicudi. Cool and breezy even in summer, the contrada is named after the small twentieth-century church of Santo Stefano. Val di Chiesa is a still authentic contrada, inhabited mainly by locals. Father Santo Spirito celebrates Mass every Sunday, and in the church garden cultivates a vine that produces a wonderful malvasia. If you are looking for typical products, here you will find a delicious craft shop where you can buy capers, dried tomatoes, royal jelly and a delicious honey. If you are in Filicudi at the beginning of August, do not miss the feast of St. Stephen, the patron saint of the island, with a procession from this church.
Located on the promontory of Capo Graziano, the Neolithic village of Filicudi is one of the most important archaeological sites of the Aeolian Islands. The ruins of 25 oval huts and a sacrificial altar is what remains of an ancient civilization, arrived here 5,000 years ago, at the beginning of the Bronze Age. These peoples traded with the Mycenaeans and produced splendid ceramics belonging to the period of Diana, kept in the Archaeological Museum of Lipari. Initially they settled by the sea and only later moved on the promontory, 100 meters above sea level, to defend themselves from enemy attacks. In 1430 BC probably the village was violently destroyed.
Zucco Grande is an old abandoned contrada wrapped in a dreamlike atmosphere. Legend has it that once the most beautiful women of Filicudi inhabit here. It was the most prosperous contrada because here was the only island’s water source. Today the source is reduced to a trickle, but continues to fuel lush vegetation. To get to Zucco Grande you have to walk 2 km trail on foot or by mule, along a beautiful path overlooking the sea. Zucco Grande will repay your fatigue with a breathtaking view of the islands and a timeless atmosphere. A curiosity: Zucco Grande is the first land to emerge following the volcanic eruption that 1 million years ago created the Aeolian Islands.
Once disembarked Filicudi Porto is the first village you will see. Not the most beautiful but the most equipped. Here you will find an ATM, a gas station for boats and one for cars, daily newspapers (sold in the Bar del Porto), tobacco and food (La Putia), then a small supermarket, a scooters and boats rental and a couple of restaurants (Da Nino Sul Mare and Hippocampus). Take a look at the lovely boutique that sells costumes, jewelry and other small objects and not miss a granita with almonds on the terrace of Bar del Porto. Although we are in a port, the water is crystal clear. The pebble beach becomes more and more beautiful walking towards the promontory of Capo Graziano.
The Aeolian Museum
This fine little museum with free entrance is located on the promenade of Filicudi Porto. It is a branch of the Museum of Lipari Bernabo Brea and consists of 5 rooms. On the ground floor you will find the agricultural tools typical of the Aeolian Islands. Upstairs, in the first room, you can read the history of the island, both in terms of natural and historical evolution. The following room is dedicated to artifacts from the Bronze Age found in the Neolithic village of Capo Graziano and Piana del Porto. In the third room of this level, dedicated to marine archeology, it is possible to admire the ancient Greek amphoras found on Filicudi seabed. A short visit to get an idea of the millennial history of Filicudi.