Arriving at Filicudi porto on the aliscafo, I was filled with thoughts of how many times my ancestors must have made the same journey to and from these islands – going back hundreds of years – it felt amazing.
It was raining however so it was a good thing one of the hosts, Caterina had arranged to pick us up in the minivan – we were further pleased about this when we realised how considerably steep the sprawling road was to the accommodation – high atop the hillside. Caterina had to make a couple of stops to drop off a couple of other locals at their houses who had also come from port with what looked like food supplies and such – we later learned this was pretty common place as everyone basically knows eachother on the island – this ofcourse can also have its downsides.
We were shown to our room across the road from the main homestead and restaurant – we learned also that this part of the property was originally owned by the grandparents of Caterina’s husband, Stefano and featured original tiling and bedheads in the style of the time.
That night we enjoyed a delicious meal prepared by Caterina of seafood pasta, aubergine, and fish – all locally supplied ofcourse. Other nights saw us enjoying a tuna lasagne, quiche, fish in caramelised onion, and the specialty pizza menu that is usually on offer at least once every week or two and very popular with the locals. I particularly enjoyed the tuna, olive, and mozzarella pizza.
Stefano’s mother, Lucia also looked after as well with coffees, hot chocolate and the like – she also makes great dolci and aranciata jam.
Amidst all the great dining and drinks we also had the opportunity to meet a number of key locals who we came to know well including Giovanino from Ginostra and Pino from Vulcano. We never would have met all these people though had it not been for our new friend Fabrizio who translated whenever we didn’t understand, helped us plan the remainder of our Aeolian Islands visit, took time (along with Stefano) to show us around the island (and again later in Lipari) and was generally extremely kind to us. After making some enquiries, Fabrizio also took us past a block of houses that were perhaps once inhabited by my family going back 100 years or more.
We got to stay an extra night than planned due to bad weather and the cancelled aliscafi but eventually had to say our goodbyes as Stefano dropped us off at the porto – he was also kind enough to give us all our dolci and wine for free for the stay plus a parting bottle of Molvasia (desert wine). Lucia too gave us a tub of delicious capperi to take on our journey.
The Filicudari are truly some of the nicest people you could hope to meet – we felt like family and it was everything I had hoped this experience would be – I can’t wait to return soon.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Filicudi, Aeolian Islands, about 5 km from the sea, in the island's center, Villa La Rosa is a popular meeting place for everyone: islanders and tourists. Villa La Rosa offers a hotel with comfortable rooms, in a private area just 50 meters from the restaurant, bar and disco. Every evening you can dance for free in the disco. On Sunday night "liscio." The renowned restaurant, run by chef Adelaide Rando, offers Aeolian specialties, mainly of fresh fish. Well-stocked wine list and bar. The rooms of the Villa Rosa leave intact the atmosphere of the Aeolian houses. From every room leads to private terrace, with its roof covered with fagots esiccate the sun. In front of the rooms a spacious garden solarium. Competitive rates and quality of service are the reasons why customers come to harbor an affectionate Villa La Rosa. ... more less