Island Adventures: Mysterious Panarea
When we want to escape from it all we like to travel to places that are far away and impossible to reach. To abandon civilisation in favour of extravagant nature and a rare primitive feeling of isolation. Panarea has it all. This gem of an island is nestled in the Tyrrhenian Sea and its mysterious landscape inspired Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1960 film L’Avventura.
During the summer months there is a flotilla of sail boats and yachts that come and go, cavaliering the island’s bohemian aristocratic chic. The island’s 300 permanent residents are joined by Europe’s elite Visconti and Borghese families, movie stars and top models whom all swim in the crystalline waters off the jagged coastline and deserted coves.
The most magnificent of these is Cala Junco: the remains of a collapsed volcanic crater in the southernmost and uninhabited part of the island. The coastal path takes you up high above the clifftops where the remains of a Bronze Age village are situated. Further down the coast della Calcara is a unique beach characterised by sulphurous fumaroles, underwater springs and magical views of Stromboli.
As more adventurous travellers discovered the islands, unique atmospheric Hotel Rayaopened in the 1960s. The Raya terraces overlook the sea and became renowned as a place where you could party through the night, an alternative to the more traditional Capri.
Those who prefer to evoke the island’s past tranquility head north from San Pietro. Here as the evening fades to dark, fortunate residents gaze out across the water and watch Stromboli spray Lucent magma into the night’s sky.
The island is enchanting and has taken us on a voyage full of exploration and true pleasure.