Seeing a volcano up close is a desire that many people have. The possibility of seeing the spectacle of the force of nature up close is in fact a very strong attraction, almost a natural instinct. And in Stromboli - a small Aeolian island with a characteristic cone shape, which reaches an altitude of 926 m - this desire can be satisfied, arriving just 200 meters from the crater.
The excursion starts from the town center, just behind the small church, and can follow two different paths: the San Vincenzo path or the route towards Punta Labronzo. In both cases, the hike on the volcano lasts about 3 hours with a moderate pace. The first part of the route crosses a cane field, which leaves room for panoramic views as you gain altitude.
Then the landscape changes and you start walking on rock and volcanic sand, with intense colors ranging from black to red. Here no type of vegetation grows anymore and the landscape is dominated by the earth and yes, by the fire. Gradually, during the ascent, we start to hear the sound of eruptions and explosions, and finally we see the smoke behind the ridge. The real pit remains on the opposite side, hidden from the top.
From here you can see the island of Strombolicchio and then the Sicilian coast, the Calabrian coast, the Strait of Messina ... The look embraces practically all that part of the Mediterranean enclosed between the Italian coast and Sicily.
Before arriving at the top we normally stop for a short break, to enjoy the view and put on a jacket: it looks strange, but out of season it's cold and windy. And then, it's time. We are on the top and in front of us there are the three craters of Stromboli, all in activity. Arriving at dusk, when the red of the lava glows and flashes against the black of the rock and the ink of the sky is an emotion difficult to tell. It is being in the presence of a power that cannot be harnessed, it is feeling small in front of the volcano, it is being overwhelmed by the wild beauty of the Earth.
The first time I came up here, accompanying a group of people, I felt just as excited as they were. And every time this emotion is renewed: the spectacle of the explosions that repeat themselves regularly and rise in the sky up to 100 meters of height always kidnaps the heart. In the high season I climb to the top almost every night and, I can assure you, I never got bored. Moreover, I accompany people to experience really something unique: this hike on Stromboli is the only one in Europe that allows you to get so close to an active volcano.
With each group we remain for about 30/40 minutes sitting on the edge of the crater, mouths opened in front of the majesty of Stromboli. And then we go down, all along the same road that runs along the ridge up to a vent and then along a sandbank where we walk immersed up to our knees in the black sand. We finally reach the starting point again, where it is necessary to clean up before saying goodbye.
To go hiking Stromboli you must necessarily be accompanied by mountain guides or volcanological guides, it is not possible to climb the volcano alone. It is an experience that I obviously recommend to fans of volcanoes but also to those who love to walk and seek contact with the truest nature: here this desire is certainly fulfilled. You don't need to be an expert mountaineer, you just want to walk and experience something out of the ordinary.
For this kind of hike, technical items that dry quickly and high hiking boots with a sturdy sole, accompanied by a pair of socks, are absolutely recommended: these will be essential in facing the descent. For example, Garmont's Toubkal GTX and Vetta GTX are perfect, solid and high-cut at the ankle. The rest of the equipment depends on the season in which the Stromboli trek is tackled: in summer it is really very hot and you have to put in your backpack an abundant supply of water, in the mid-seasons instead it is good to remember a fleece and a jacket, because on top can get cold.
Daniele Guagliardo is a mountain guide of Friulian origin. He began to frequent the mountain as a child, gradually making his job. Transferred to Milan, a strategic base to reach the Alps in any season, it organizes outings both in summer and in winter, helping fans to conquer their mountaineering and skiing targets. For 3 years he has accompanied groups and individual hikers on Stromboli, in collaboration with the agency "Il Vulcano a piedi".