Carol Forster column


The mysterious island of Stromboli, one of the eight Aeolian islands, lies off the northern coast of Sicily in the Tyrrhenian sea.

Being an island enthusiast, this place has long captivated me with its contrasting beautiful beaches, lush vegetation and harsh brooding volcanic landscape.

This volcano is very active, so eruption fanciers will enjoy all the thrills it has to offer.

You never know what will happen next here, which adds a certain frisson to the travelling experience, not to mention the sense of being part of a dramatic backdrop.

This island is famous for its night-time eruptions and has been nick-named the ‘Lighthouse of the Mediterranean’; it ‘s also possible to watch explosive eruptions taking place from a great vantage point - the rim of an older crater.

This beats popcorn crunching at your local cinema any day with the added possibility that you could almost make toast there or dry your sopping laundry.

You could even imagine yourself an extra from an Italian version of ‘Fireman Sam’, if the fancy took you.

In fact, so compelling was the island’s presence, it was used for the 1950 film, ‘Stromboli’, starring Ingrid Bergman, directed by Roberto Rossellini.

Typical of the neo-realism genre, real locals are used in the film and genuine footage of them escaping an actual volcanic eruption are included.

The film is about a young Lithuanian woman called Karin who finds herself in a war-time prison camp, having escaped from the nazis.

When she is courted by local fisherman Antonio, she sees him as a means of escaping her predicament and so marries him.

However, the simple and harsh realities of island life make her desperately unhappy, so she tries to escape this too.

The film is left open-ended, after a dramatic scene of her escaping by boat from the island, when she has an enlightened ‘moment’, or possibly a funny turn, depending on your interpretation.

It is left unclear what happens to her next...

If I was her, I know which way I’d be paddling that boat and I aint talking mainland. Awesome.