Panarea – Discovering the sea


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You can take any kind of boat and set off to discover this charmed sea.

Your attention is immediately drawn to the small archipelago of islets and crags near the port. Not forgetting your diving gear, you set off towards Lisca Bianca and its lovely beach which is white like the rocks due to the fumaroles, sulphurous bubbles which have been active for thousands of years. The fumaroles are also visible underwater, both at the western point, at a depth of 5 metres, and in the area between Dattilo, Bottaro and Lisca Bianca, 20 metres down, with hundreds of columns of bubbles. This is the crater of the last volcanic activity.

The island of Panarea, the islets, and the shallow sea which surrounds it are all that remain of great volcanic activity, characterised by numerous craters now almost all submerged. This underwater platform has a maximum depth of 50 metres, so it is very accessible and the water is crystal clear.

For underwater excursions and refilling oxygen tanks you can contact Amphibia who organise courses and trips. Dattilo has a pyramid form and in its sides there are some caves with crystallised sulphur and alum. Le Guglie are the slender crags next to it.

The island of Basiluzzo and the crag Spinazzola are full of surprises and worth a day trip.

The island is 3.5 km from Panarea and has the shape of a cupola with sheer sides. You will notice the stratifications of the various lava flows, some light and other, older dark ones formed of obsidian. The rocks have very strange forms and the coast is inaccessible. There is only one landing place, near the eastern point, from which a path leads up to the peak, at a height of 165 metres (pay attention during the climb and wear sensible shoes). From here there is a view of Panarea and Stromboli. The remains of a Roman villa, with traces of a mosaic floor, coloured plaster, an underground construction and a Roman dock, now 7 metres underwater, show that, even two thousand years ago, it was the residence of a ‘billionaire in sesterces’.

Today the island is uninhabited but for centuries the three hectares were cultivated.

At Spinazzola, an inaccessible crag, there is a colony of dwarf palms, unique in Europe. A sail round the island, in an anti-clockwise direction, lets you see the western side, otherwise not accessible on foot, after you have passed the jetty of Iditella and the beach of Calcara.

Continuing, you meet Punta Palisi, the Grotta del Tabacco and finally a great sheer wall with the nearby crag Pietra La Nave, a diver’s paradise: the remains of an ancient crater. You pass Punta Scritta, where there are said to be inscriptions made by Saracen pirates.

From here on the cliffs are sheer with basalt prisms and lava flows. At Punta Muzza there is the majestic cliff of Costa del Capraio, which drops into the sea. Then you arrive at the wonderful Cala Junco, the Cala del Morto and the Caletta degli Zimmari, always crowded in August, the inlet of Drautto, Punta Torrione, Punta Peppemaria and back to the port of San Pietro.