A tiny island off the north coast of Sicily, Stromboli is one of three live volcanoes in Italy. It is extremely active, with regular explosive eruptions. The island is perhaps best known from the 1950 film of the same name by Roberto Rossellini, starring Ingrid Bergman. William Fiennes, author of The Snow Geese, published a brilliant article in this summer's edition of Intelligent Life, about climbing the volcano.
"Perched on the ridge at 1,000 metres, we gazed into the crater: a small black otherworld, vapour leaking from fissures and vents. Some of these were invisible openings in the blackness; two were distinct chimneys, like the ventilation nozzles on plans. You could smell the sulphur, gases from the magma chamber expelled in belches. I thought of conduits connected like elevator shafts to the gourd of molten rock, a ghostly Ingrid Bergman stumbling into the crater at the end of Rossellini’s Stromboli."
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