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Join Bill Knott in the Aeolian Islands, off Northern Sicily, 28 September - 5 October 2024

Tours | September 2024

Bill and Tania Knott invite you to join them for a relaxing week-long trip to the wild and stunningly beautiful Aeolian Islands off the north coast of Sicily. They are deploying the same itinerary they used earlier this year.

Aerial photo of Salina

We have exclusive use of the delightful Hotel Il Principe (https://principedisalina.it) on Salina. Island-hopping on public ferries can be fraught with pressure. So, we have chartered the Lady Salina with which we will explore the archipelago's breath-taking scenery, charming fishing villages and superb cuisine, while indulging in the finest local food and drink. Breakfast and dinner will be served on the hotel’s terrace, prepared by Silvana, the owner.

We will encounter all seven of the major islands: each has a unique character, from the towering, fiery heights of Stromboli to tiny, peaceful, remote Alicudi, with its fishing boats and terraced hillsides. We will be based on Salina, at the centre of the archipelago, with unbeatable views of Stromboli, smoke drifting permanently from the crater at its peak.

Just a short walk from the hotel, Bill's old friend Giuseppe Mascoli has his house, vineyard and winery, and we will spend a few hours on his terrace, sampling local produce: he is an expert guide to the islands' cuisine and will give us a unique perspective on Aeolian culture.

Giuseppe Mascoli

You really could not enjoy these wonderful islands with greater ease and in greater style. Full itinerary and description of the hotel at LINK Please join us for what promises to be an unforgettable week.

Our hotel: Principe di Salina

Located at the top of the beguilingly rambling village of Malfa, on Salina's north coast, Principe is a family affair, built by mum and dad Silvana and Francesco and now managed by daughter Anita. Silvana, a retired surgeon, is the chef, creating ambrosial menus that celebrate top-notch local produce, with a strong emphasis on seafood and vegetables.

The hotel itself combines stylish, pristine-white simplicity with splashes of colour from Sicilian-inspired fabrics and furnishings. There are a dozen lovely bedrooms, each with an ensuite bathroom and a private terrace overlooking the sea, and two huge (60 square metre) loft-style suites with terracotta trimmings and monsoon showers.

The rooms are grouped around an infinity pool and a geothermal spa tub, naturally heated to a constant 40˚C. There is a bar in the hotel and a juice bar by the pool, and we will have dinner family-style on the restaurant's terrace, overlooking the ocean.

Breakfast will be provided each morning on the terrace, while our dinners will be leisurely, four-course affairs, with light antipasti - tomato tartare with fresh basil and a quenelle of ricotta, perhaps, or an aubergine-rich caponata, scattered with toasted pine nuts - then a pasta dish, maybe linguine sauced with wild fennel pesto and confit tomatoes, and a main course of grilled local fish. With something sweet to finish.

Hotel Il Principe

The itinerary:

Sat 28 September – arrival at Salina

Arriving at Catania Airport around midday, we transfer by private coach to Milazzo, on Sicily's north coast, and board the hydrofoil to Salina. Minibuses will take us on the short journey to our hotel for the week: Principe di Salina, in Malfa.

We have the rest of the afternoon to unpack and relax by the pool before dinner on the hotel terrace.

Our boat: The Lady Salina

Sun 29 September – Alicudi and Filicudi

It is a 15-minute downhill walk from the hotel to the jetty at Malfa's port, from where we leave by private boat - the Lady Salina - to Alicudi, stopping for a swim (optional!) by Filicudi en route. We have lunch arranged on a charming terrace just a few steps up from Alicudi's tiny harbour: expect local specialities and the freshest of fish.

We return to Malfa by boat after lunch, where minibuses will be waiting: the rest of the afternoon is at leisure, before dinner at the hotel.


Mon 30 September - Lipari

We board the Lady Salina again in the morning and sail to Lipari, the most populous island in the archipelago and home to a superb archaeological museum, boasting one of the finest collections of the entire Mediterranean Basin.

After our guided tour, we will board our boat again to sail to the south coast of Vulcano for lunch at the lovely Trattoria Da Pina, then back to the hotel to relax for an hour or two before dinner.


Tue 1st October – evening visit to Stromboli

A morning at leisure, although the more athletic among us will take the chance of a guided hike to the top of Monte Fossa delle Felci, one of the two extinct volcanoes on Salina; the rest of us might book a spa treatment down the road in Malfa, or just relax by the pool.

Giuseppe Mascoli's house, vineyard and garden are a ten minute walk from the hotel, and he will give us a tour, followed by lunch on his terrace: capers, wine, cheeses, oil, honey, salumi, his sourdough bread... perhaps aubergine parmigiana as well.

After lunch, we can decide whether to return to the hotel, stopping at a bar in the village for a digestivo by the church, or drive to Rinella, on the south coast, for a granita and a swim.

In the evening, we board the Lady Salina and head to Stromboli, and - fingers crossed - some spectacular volcanic fireworks, observed from a safe distance, of course. There will be a light supper on board, and a chance to sample the local sweet wine made from Malvasia. We return to the hotel around 10 pm.

Stromboli erupting

Wed 2nd October – a relaxing day on Salina

We stay on dry land today, leaving the hotel mid-morning for a gastronomic tour of Salina, visiting a farmer's house in Valdichiesa for a tasting of capers, oil, wine, cheeses, fruit preserves and other local delicacies. We also visit the village of Pollara, made famous in Michael Radford's 1994 film Il Postino.

We have a light lunch at a restaurant in Malfa, then head back to the hotel for an afternoon at leisure, before dinner on the terrace.

Caper flowers


Thu 3rd October– shopping in Lipari

Back to Lipari today, this time for some retail therapy: whether you are looking for designer clothes, local handicrafts or souvenirs, Lipari has the best shops in the archipelago. Or just relax with an aperitivo in a café by the pretty harbour before we go for lunch at Osteria San Bartolo, a terrific restaurant highly recommended by Slow Food.

We return by boat to Malfa, with a few hours of free time before dinner on the terrace.


Fri 4th October – Lunch at Leni, Salina

Our last day will start with a free morning: we leave the hotel at midday to have lunch in nearby Leni, on the terrace of local food and wine hero Salvatore D'Amico. Salvatore has his own winery and salts his own capers, and we will sample some of his bottles over a long, caper-strewn lunch.

We return to the hotel for some judicious packing - we have an early start the following morning - and dinner on the terrace.


Sat 5th October - return home

Up at dawn for breakfast, then by minibuses to Santa Marina to catch the early hydrofoil back to Milazzo, where our private coach will be waiting to whisk us to Catania Airport.

HOW TO BOOK: Call 01225 427311 or please email Katherine at reservations@theoldie.co.uk. Price per person: £3,250 which includes accommodation, guides, all meals, wine with meals, ferries, boat trips and all other transport. You need to book and pay for your own flights. Single supplement: £400. A non-refundable deposit of £750 will be required, with the full balance due on 1st June, 2024.

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