Avoid Crowds On This Breathtaking Italian Island With Unmatched Natural Beauty

After a summer trip to Rome this past year, we're still thinking about long lines everywhere and how crowded it was. There are some incredible things to see in Italy, like visiting historic buildings and other spots where history happened... it's wonderful. However, sometimes, when you need a vacation, it's not from the place you live but from too many people and overstimulation. Why not take your hard-earned leisure time and actually make it leisurely?

There is a lovely underrated destination in Italy, in the volcanic Aeolian Islands – Isole Eolie in Italian — (where the Greek god Aeolus is supposed to live). It's just off the northeast coast of Sicily and perfect for what you're looking for. There is a lot of history here, including an early Bronze Age settlement and an abandoned village to explore, pretty beaches to relax on, an extinct volcano, and only around 200 residents. This 6.7 square mile island is Filicudi, and it's about to be your dream spot. Let's take a look at what you'll find on Filicudi Island and what you need to know about visiting this incredible place. 

On land in Filicudi

Filicudi Island is a tiny one, with only the three villages of Filicudi Porto, Valdichiesa, and Pecorini a Mare, and only one paved road. That means it's probably not worth bringing a car over on the ferry. A scooter or your own feet are the best way to get around. You can rent a scooter (or a boat) right in Filicudi Porto, which also has little stores, an ATM, gas stations, and some dining places. You can walk the promenade at the port and even charter a yacht there. To get to Filicudi Island, take a ferry from Milazzo, or, in the summer, take an evening ferry from Naples. You can also take a hydrofoil from Milazzo or Palermo. If you're extra fancy, you can book a helicopter

Filicudi Island is a great place to hike. You can climb the extinct volcano, Mount Fossa Felici, which is about a half mile, though it's a bit steep. If you climb the Filicudi Belvedere, you can get some great views of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Plus, the sunset is spectacular. 

If you want to see something fascinating, take a hike to the Neolithic, early Bronze Age village of Capo Graziano, which is estimated to be around 5,000 years old. There are about 25 hut ruins here that you can check out. You can also visit the abandoned village of Zucco Grande via a path from Filicudi Porto.

In the sea around Filicudi

After visiting Capo Graziano, you can hike right back down to Le Punte Beach for a swim. This is a pebble beach and perfect for some relaxation. Another place to go is Grotta del Bue Marino, or the Sea Cow Cave, called this because sea lions used to live there, and the sounds in the cave supposedly resemble their vocalizations. You can swim into it or take a boat.

If you're experienced in scuba diving, you can visit the Submarine Archaeological Museum of Capo Graziano (Museo Archeologico Sottomarino). It was created in 2008 and has a number of shipwrecks to dive, sea creatures to observe, and things like amphorae from the second century B.C.E. and a fifth-century anchor. However, you must be accompanied by official divers.

If you want a great picture, look for La Canna, a rock formation in the water off the northwest coast that looks like the trunk of an ancient tree and is about 229 feet high. There is a story that says touching it can make wishes come true. It is often thought to resemble the Madonna and child.