The Aeolian archipelago, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2000, off the north-eastern coast of Sicily, is made up of 7 islands: wild Alicudi and Filicudi, worldly Panarea, Salina, the green island, Lipari, the largest and most populated, Vulcano and Stromboli with their active volcanos. Black sands, craters, pumice and obsidian quarries, sulphur mud baths and hot springs are a testament to the archipelago’s volcanic origins. The thousand year old history of the islands is well documented in Lipari’s Archaeological Museum. Lipari, the heart of the archipelago, offers restaurants, shops, cafés and bars as well as enchanting beaches such as those of Canneto, Vinci and the bay of Spiagge Bianche. Salina, the most fertile of the islands is renowned for its capers and Malvasia wine and, with its rocky seabed, cliffs, grottoes and coves, is a paradise for scuba diving. The bay of Pollara, the setting for Troisi’s “Il Postino” is certainly worth a visit. The Egadi archipelago, just a few kilometres off the west coast of Sicily and Trapani, is Europe’s most extensive marine reserve and includes 3 islands: Levanzo, Marettimo and Favignana, the largest of the three. Here the most beautiful beaches are at Cala Rotonda, Cala Azzurra and Cala Rossa, where the turquoise sea creates a chromatic contrast with the white tufa stone walls. Near the port, dominated by the ancient Fort of St. Catherine, there are numerous cafes, restaurants and shops. The old Florio building, once the most important tuna-fishery in the Mediterranean, and recently converted into a museum, is well worth a visit.