The oldest of the Aeolian islands is Panarea, which with the islets of Basiluzzo, Spinazzola, Lisca Bianca, Dattilo, Bottaro, Lisca Nera and the rocks of Panarelli and Formiche, forms a micro-archipelago between Lipari
the island of Stromboli placed on a single submarine base. One of the many beauties of this archipelago.
Origins of the town
Panarea was already inhabited in prehistoric times, as evidenced by a village dating back to the Bronze Age and located on the promontory of Capo Milazzese (in the south-west area of the island). The particular position of the promontory, jutting out into the sea and protected by high cliff walls on it – therefore easily defensible – made it an ideal place for settlement. The island, like the others of the archipelago, experiences periods of various dominations. Inhabited since the Neolithic period, it was then invaded by the Etruscans, colonized by the Greeks and again subsequently passed under the dominion of the Romans. With the fall of the Western Roman Empire, a period of decline begins which increases with the Byzantine domination and becomes even more rapid with the beginning of the Arab occupation (827/1061). With the advent of the Normans and the birth of the Kingdom of Sicily, the economic and demographic development of Panarea and the other islands began again (about 1340-1544). Then there were difficult periods due to the Arab-Turkish invasions, which led the island to be almost uninhabited. The political situation improved in the following years, but at the end of the 19th century the population dropped
again due to continuous emigration (mostly to the United States, South America and Australia). To date, the strong point of the island is obviously tourism, which began in the 1950s and definitively exploded in the 1970s.
What to see
If you have to choose when to visit Panarea, two interesting dates are those of 28 and 29 June. In fact, the feast of St. Peter, patron saint of the island, is celebrated. The statue of the saint is carried on the shoulders of the faithful
along the main streets of the island, the procession is accompanied by the band with prayer intervals. Characteristic is the moment in which the statue is put on a boat and continues by sea. The day of the eve of the festival is full of events that prepare for the atmosphere of celebrations: folk groups, dances, songs, typical products and stalls. In terms of religious buildings, the Church of San Pietro and the Church of the Assumption are worth noting, while as an ancient site on the island it is advisable to visit the Prehistoric Village of Capo Milazzese. It can be easily reached from the Port of Ditella and guided tours are also organized to learn about its history. Its huts are perfectly preserved: it will be exciting to imagine how people lived on the island in ancient times.
What to do
During a stay in Panarea it is almost inevitable to take a tour of San Pietro, the landing point and main town on the island. In addition, it is home to almost all the tourist activities and the social life of the island. In San Pietro, therefore, you will find many typical restaurants, the port and a thermal spring (right near the port, near the Punta Peppemaria). Also interesting is the Scoglio la Nave, which is located a few meters from the north coast of Panarea.
The rock is of volcanic origin, 49 meters high and 4,200 square meters wide; moreover, precisely at this point, about 200,000 years ago, the main crater of Panarea erupted, now submerged and inactive. You can visit the rock during an excursion along the coasts of the island, and discover the endemic plants that grow on the islet. In particular, the “Limonium minutiflorum”, the cornflower of the Aeolian Islands and the carnation of the cliffs.
What and where to eat
Among the typical dishes of Panarea we find pasta with swordfish head sauce, panarellese fried pasta (made with vermicelli, anchovies, salt, pepper, breadcrumbs), cod with capers, trigghi; rosmarinu (mullet with rosemary), tomatoes stuffed with fish. To taste them, try Da Pina, Hycesia
Cala Zimmari is one of the beautiful beaches you will find on the island. It is located near Drautto, and is the only sandy beach on the island. Here you will find a red sand, which is why the cove is also known as the Red Beach. What bathes this beach is clearly the classic crystalline, transparent and clean sea of Sicily. Also particular is the Calcara Beach, which is located on the north coast of the island and is known because from here you can observe various phenomena of a volcanic nature in the form of fumaroles.
How to come
There are many connections between Panarea, the other islands of the archipelago and the rest of Italy. The fastest way to
get to the island is by hydrofoil, from the port of Milazzo. In addition, it is possible to reach the island by hydrofoil and motor ship from the ports of Messina and Palermo, as well as Reggio Calabria and Naples, with different frequencies and durations. Most of these routes include stops in the rest of the Aeolian Islands.