If the recent spate of frigid winter nights have you dreaming of more temperate regions, look no further than the Aeolian Islands off the coast of Italy. Lela Becker, co-founder of Los Angeles-based cult denim brand Mother, visited the sun-drenched islands earlier this year and found herself enamored with both the natural volcanic beauty of the terrain and the bohemian creatives there who reminded her of her Northern California roots and the proprietors of the unique vintage shops she frequented in the Sonoma and Napa Valleys. While staying at Hotel Raya on Panarea, Becker met boutique owner Myriam Beltrami and spent days wandering around the islands and through Beltrami’s curated shops. Here, Becker’s list of must-see boutiques, eateries, and beaches throughout the island chain.
, in the Aeolian
Islands, is a magical, laid-back hotel that feels more like a lifestyle than a place. The owner, Myriam Beltrami, who opened the hotel in the 1960s was there to greet us at the pool.
Eat at Bridge Sushi Bar
and Zimmari on Zimmari Beach, the only beach in Panarea. Go to local bakeries for pizza and pastries and the markets in town for charcuterie and cheese.
Rent your own little wooden boat from Sea Panarea
and boat around Basiluzzo or the volcanic rock formations which are less than a mile from Panarea Island. You can also boat to Cala Junco on Panarea (the little bay is perfect for a swim or a picnic).
Shop in the three boutiques at Hotel Raya
for antiques, trinkets, towels, and pareos from Bali, where Beltrami
lives in the winter. Have custom sandals made at Moda Mare
Wander around the island aimlessly as there is magic around every corner. Most importantly, have an aperitif at the Hotel Raya rooftop sundeck every night at sunset. Take in views of Stromboli Island which has had an active volcano erupting for over 2000 years
Another must is a swim in Hotel Raya
’s geo-thermal mineral bath pools.
By Elizabeth Varnell
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Pictured: Views from Hotel Raya in the Aeolian Islands off Italy.
Photo by Lela Becker