My Escape: Capofaro, Aeolian Islands


Capofaro Locanda & Malvasi, on the island of Salina, one of the Aeolian Islands north of Sicily. 


On Tasca D’Almerita’s wine estate on Salina, the greenest of the volcanic Aeolian Islands. The Aeolian islands are a UNESCO world heritage site due to their volcanic activity. Lipari, Vulcano, Salina, Alicudi, Filicudi, Panarea and Stromboli: the seven “sisters” rise from the Tyrrhenian Sea, about 40 kilometres from the north-eastern coast of Sicily. The islands, a symbol of uncontaminated nature, have been inhabited since prehistoric times. Greek legend states that the Aeolian islands were created by Aeolus, the God of the wind.

tasca d’almerita’s wine estate on LEO edit
Photo Courtesy of Capofaro


A hotel and winery island retreat, owned by the Tasca d’Almerita family, Capofaro has breathtaking views of the sprawling vineyards leading into the ocean, the Aeolian islands, and the mountains of Salina. The classic Aeolian-style whitewashed buildings, adorned with bougainvillea and the fresh water swimming pool stand among six acres of Malvasia vineyards which produce both dry and sweet wines. The hotel’s lighthouse is the first sign for those arriving by night from the Tyrrhenian Sea; it is the northernmost lighthouse in Sicily. It has watched over the seas below since the mid-nineteenth-century. 

lighthouse on tyrrhenian sea on LEO edit
Photo Courtesy of Capofaro


The nearest airport to fly into is Catania. Capofaro offers taxi transfers from the airport to Milazzo, where approximately every hour hydrofoils depart to Santa Marina Salina. Alternatively, private helicopter transfers from Air Panarea are available to take you from the airport to the island of Salina. You can also reach Capofaro from Reggio Calabria, Palermo, and Naples—where hydrofoils and ferries connect to the island. In addition, the port of Santa Marina Salina is well equipped to harbour private sailing boats and yachts.

salina map on LEO edit
Photo Courtesy of Capofaro


The twenty-seven rooms all have a private terrace with sea or garden views. Additionally, guests can now stay in what was once the lighthouse guardian’s lodgings, which overlook the cliffs and the splendour of the Aeolian sea, with the twin mountains of Salina behind it. Lighthouse rooms all have a private garden.


The fresh water swimming pool surrounded by Malvasia vineyards is where you will want to spend most of your days here, as well as in the evenings for ‘aperitivi’, while watching the sun set over the islands. The garden spa offers treatments and massages. For sport lovers, there is a paddle tennis court by the lighthouse and yoga and pilates lessons on the roof of the Club House. 

pool by malvasia vineyards on LEO edit
Photo Courtesy of Capofaro


Capofaro is the culmination of Sicilian cuisine and the Tasca family’s gastronomic traditions, recreated in the restaurant’s kitchen with the best local raw materials, craftsmanship and the creative flair of Chef Ludovico De Vivo. An ambitious chef from the South of Italy, De Vivo’s food is rooted in rich gastronomic history that brings together lessons of the ‘monsu’ (the chefs of the Sicilian and Neapolitan aristocratic homes) with peasant knowledge from historical Sicilian feudal estates. Inspired by the concept of ‘zero kilometer’ cooking, Capofaro’s local vegetable gardens provide 70% of the produce used in the kitchen. The wheat for the bread and pasta is grown in the Tasca family home, Regaleali, as are the olives for the olive oil. Waste is reduced to a minimum, and whatever little is left is transformed into compost for the grapevines.

The restaurant’s terrace opens up to the sea and the view of Panarea and the active volcano Stromboli, which at night often spits out jets of incandescent lava. 

For breakfast, typical Sicilian pastries such as ‘bombe’, ‘graffe’, and ‘sfinci’ are baked every morning by the pastry chef. Hand sliced cold charcuterie from the Nebrodi mountains, freshly-squeezed juice using local fruits, homemade jams, and Sicilian black bee honey are served every morning on warm toast.

food by chef ludovico de vivo on LEO edit
Photo Courtesy of Capofaro


Because Salina is of volcanic origin, its soil nurtures the Malvasia delle Lipari grape, a golden variety that yields the famous dry and sweet local wines. It is the noble fruit of the Aeolian islands; the grape belongs to the category of aromatic wines, and is one of the many Malvasia varieties cultivated in Italy. Capofaro is one of the five estates owned by the Tasca d’Almerita family, and is home to the ‘Anfiteatro’ vineyard. 

For a complete wine experience, Capofaro offers tastings of wines from across Sicily, produced by the D’Almerita family. Capofaro’s sommelier guides guests through bottles, while regaling them with stories of the land where the grapes are grown. The tastings are paired with appetizers from the chef.

wine vineyards on LEO edit
Photo Courtesy of Capofaro


Capofaro offers the experience of working on a vineyard, from pruning to the harvest, actively working on the ancient plants. If you’re more of a drink-your-wine than make-your-wine guy, a walk around the vineyards accompanied by Capofaro’s sommelier is still a great experience.

wine vineyards on LEO edit
Photo Courtesy of Capofaro


Chef Ludovico De Vivo teaches cooking lessons, taking guests on a sun-drenched gastronomic journey, infused with the salty and sweet flavours of the produce grown on the property, beginning right in their garden, and is an opportunity to learn traditional and modern recipes right in the Capofaro kitchen. 

cooking lessons on LEO edit
Photo Courtesy of Capofaro


Daily trips to explore the islands by sea can be arranged and nautical excursions can be organized—from scuba diving to evening trips to the volcanic island of Stromboli, to outings around Salina and the other Aeolian islands—with a cold bottle of wine and a gourmet picnic prepared by Capofaro’s chefs. The hotel will plan the whole day for you, with trusted local skippers and various model boats.

day trips around salina on LEO edit
Photo Courtesy of Unsplash

A crystal-clear sea and high dark rocky cliffs with lush vegetation: exploring Salina by yacht or fishing boat is a breathtaking experience, which will have you discovering coves and diving into the pristine sea. 

salina sea on LEO edit
Photo Courtesy of Unsplash

Panoramic trekking paths lead to the nature reserve of the Montagne delle Felci and Dei Porri; there visitors can observe numerous plant species, take a breath of forest air, and observe – from the highest point of the Aeolian Islands – exotic local birds such as Eleonora’s falcons, shearwaters, and other pelagic birds, as well as awesome views that span from the Sicilian coastline to Mount Etna.

mount etna on LEO edit
Photo Courtesy of Unsplash

Editor’s Note: due to current events, the retreat is closed until Spring 2021. Take note, by next summer, people will be chomping at the bit to go on vacation. Better book now. 

VIA FARO, 3 – 98050 – Salina Isole Eolie (ME)
PH + 39 090 98 44 330 M + 39 338 63 33 999