Panarea, despite its small dimensions, offers to those who like nature several possibilities of excursions both by boat, such as the visit of Basiluzzo, Bottaro, Lisca Bianca, Dattilo, and Lisca Nera, and those more strenuous to discover the hinterland and Punta del Corvo. The excursions into Panarea’s hinterland permit to discover the unknown meanders and to fully understand the evolution of the locality, once based principally on agriculture and sheep-farming, and then transformed thanks to the tourism into a glamour and elite destination. The attribution of such kind of notoriety is partially due to human activity which contributed to offer the growing number of services as a support of tourism, but especially to natural attractions of objective beauty and uniqueness. That is why we advise not to miss the visit of Panarea’s hinterland in order to discover natural attractions of the island. While passing across the old mule tracks, raising towards the pick of Punta del Corvo, you feel the strong atmosphere of the population which had to fight against wild nature and against the isolation with a little tools. The work of the ancient farmer’s civility is already tangible at distance, but only when you fully immerge into it, you understand the enormous work made to detract portions of soil from the mountain and use them for agriculture and for the construction of all the paths, canals and tanks, indispensable for that kind of activity.
The visit to the prehistoric village
Duration: 1 hour
More than an excursion it is about a great walk to discover the southern side of the island. The archaeological site can be reached through the street which leads from the port to the overlying inhabited zone; then it turns to the left in Drautto direction, and continues towards Cala Junco. The path leading to the village shows wonderful glimpses; in the first part you cross the village of Drautto, a hundred of whitewashed houses spread over the coastal line, surmounted by enormous stairs once used for agricultural purpose. Once you leave the houses behind you, Cala degli Zimmari starts, where it is possible to dive into the wonderful waters which bathe it, and to relax on the soft black sand. At this point only a short distance divides you from the prehistoric village and from the magic Cala Junco. The settlement, dating back to the Bronze Age, is situated upon the promontory Milazzese, and is composed of 23 huts of oval shape, and 1 of quadrangular one, surely place of cult or reunion, where pottery, pots, millstones, and Mycenaean tools were found. It is not a case that the site is situated upon a plateau, extending towards the sea, protected by high walls which transform it into an ideal place for the defence. This fact makes us understand the anxiety towards pirates and intruders during that period. From this point an ancient path leads to Cala Junco, probably used in prehistoric times as a boat house; the bay making part of it is shaped as an amphitheatre, surrounded on its sides by extravagant rocky formations which gave birth to a natural pool. This cove is considered not only as the most beautiful bay of the island, but of the whole archipelago; the waters that bathe it assume extraordinary colours varying from emerald green to turquoise and to intense blue. During the summer period the cove is quite always crowded, but this is not an obstacle to enjoy the diving into fresh waters, and to lay and relax inside the real corner of paradise.
From San Pietro to Punta del Corvo
Altitude difference: 420m
Time: 2.5 hours
The shortest path to reach Punta del Corvo is that leading from the Saint Pietro village to the peak. Follow the principal road from the port leading to the overlying village, and go further till you take the signed direction to the cemetery. Moving further from the cemetery the paved road becomes of clay, until it transforms into a mule track. The path is indicated with red and white paint upon the rocks near crossroads; pay particular attention to these signs. An error could considerably prolong the climbing. The route continues between the bleak vegetation, principally compound of shrubby plants, typical of the Mediterranean zone, myrtle trees and cypresses. Once reached a peak, marvellous landscapes with the view upon the archipelago are visible on the horizon, together with the view of the village and the western side covered with cliffs and canals, a perfect habitat for the nestling of Eleonora’s Falcon colony. Those who decide to continue the excursion are advised to come down on the southern side of Panarea near Cala Junco, and the prehistoric village of Punta Milazzese. Going down the road leading from the port to the underlying village you suddenly arrive to the crossroad; follow the road leading to the right in the northern direction, and you will quickly find yourselves in Contrada Ditella, where beyond the typical Aeolian village it is possible to visit the ancient Assumption Church. Once passed the church you reach thermal springs, and the harmless fumarole of the Calcara Beach. The beach situated in a basin, the probably remain of a collapsed volcano, shows an unusual landscape; fumarole’s gas soars from soil, making it warm, modifying its shades, and creating furrows in the earth.
The Calcara and Punta del Corvo
Altitude difference: 420m
Duration: 3 hours
From this point restart the route, climbing towards the mount until you definitely leave the paved road, to move upon the harsh paths leading to the Punta del Corvo peak (421m). The route is quite difficult, that is why we advise a discreet athletic preparation, suitable shoes, water provision, and in case you want to enjoy amazing sunsets , a torch: the path, such as the rest of the whole island lacks public illumination. Once arrived to the peak, you can enjoy extraordinary landscapes with the view upon Basiluzzo , the Panarea village, and further upon the other islands. It constitutes a perfect evasion to escape the social life of the island and to immerge into the silent and harsh nature.