Many of those seeing this photo won’t be much impressed by our walk from the harbour on Stromboli to the Sciara del Fuoco, but I’ll tell you this: it wasn’t a stroll. After hiking for around an hour and a half over comparatively easy paths, the last stretch was the hardest. If you can imagine walking for two hours in 30°C heat, then reaching a steep (perhaps 35-40° angle) slope formed of volcanic sand and pumice pebbles, where the air was filled with freshly raised volcanic dust drifting through the air, then you can probably imagine the sense of achievement we felt when we reached this point. (We’re hobby walkers; by no means hardcore hikers.)
Visiting the volcano was one of the highlights of our trip to Italy and probably one of the top 5 highlights of our walks together. And yes, that is the live crater, about a mile and a half above us. The camera was sitting on a seismographic measuring post, by the way, against which we sat for half an hour to watch the volcano erupt over and over again with a grumble and a bang.