Panarea saved me. My son Hunter had just had open heart and lung surgery. The prognosis was good but there were no assurances he would survive. Corrado said come to Panarea; stay with us. We hopped on a plane to Naples. We took a 5 hour ferry. We landed in a remote sleepy paradise. I didn’t realize how stressed I was until I started to relax. To heal. We walked to the beach each morning, Corrado cooked simple tomato pasta each evening. That was in 2001. Panarea is still hard to get to but lots has changed. Articles were written, TV shows were made, movies were filmed; it has become a go to place for jet setters and day trippers. But only for a few weeks… Peak season is mid-July til end of August. This is when the famous Raya Disco opens, restaurants are packed, shops are expensive. Regulars grocery shop early, socialize amongst themselves or avoid the island altogether. They, like me, prefer September and October. Panarea is the smallest of the inhabited Aeolian Islands. It is a dormant volcano. There are no cars but lots of golf carts and vespas. Development is strictly limited. It is very instagramable. W magazine called it “the epicenter of of the chicest summer scene in the Mediterranean”. Hunter is now 23. He has a scar down the center of his chest, another one across his back. But he is healthy. I had tears in my eyes as I returned. Corrado took care of me again. Panarea is a magical place best captured in photos.
Here are links to a few of my Panarea favorites
Hotel La Piazza: great location, nice spa, nice rooms, friendly staff
Hotel Raya: nice rooms, good restaurant, great views, fun shop and THE nightclub
Abiddikkia: great sandals, fun but expensive clothes either designed or inspired by Panarea depending on who you ask…
Da Francesco: restaurant with rooms, I love it for their take away shop on the ground floor… the stuffed anchovies are to die for, they are famous for their ancini balls
Cusiritati: an old favorite, great service, lovely food, beautiful views