The Italian Almanac

a view of Lipari in the Aeolian islands

Italian News - May 4

Day-trippers beware: this summer the stunning Aeolian Islands off the coast of Sicily will admit only 500 visitors per day from June until September. Former Greek colonies on the UNESCO world heritage list because of volcanic activity, these Italian islands have been suffering from their own popularity.

The Aeolians are seven sister isles populated by fewer than 15,000 locals that attract 200,000 visitors every summer. Officials hope to avoid overcrowding and trash troubles caused by peaks of up to 8,000 people a day in hotspots like Panarea and Stromboli. Those trying to circumvent the closed number by arriving with chartered boats on beaches would do well to think about the 206 euro ($260) fine and possible jail sentence for 'trespassing.'

Although Capri, another well-trampled island destination off the coast of Naples has long threatened to limit tourism in the same manner, Lipari Mayor Mariano Bruno is the first to have actually done it. It is not clear how officials will regulate the flow of visitors from various companies doing the island hop from the coast and from Sicily. Hydrofoils may be the way to go, they cost twice as much but take half the time so visitors on slower boats may arrive to find quotas filled.