Evening cruising Stromboli Volcano

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One of eight Lipari Islands off the north coast of Sicily, tiny Stromboli is the most active—in that it is home to the second-most-active volcano on Earth, one that's been erupting continuously for more than 2,000 years. Most visitors who cruise around the island have a singular focus: the volcano. It perfectly matches one’s image of the legendary geographical feature—cone-shaped, topped by a fiery crater that spews fountains of glowing red lava, and best seen at night.

One side of Stromboli remains forever burned and blackened by perpetual eruptions. Occasionally—every two to 10 years—major flow events occur, sending a river of molten rock down the mountainside to the sea through a gorge called the Sciara del Fuoco (or Stream of Fire). Smaller eruptions happen more frequently, however, usually every 30 minutes to an hour, with blasts of lava shooting from the mouth of the caldera.

Despite being an active-volcanic island, Stromboli has two settlements: Stromboli Town in the island’s northeastern corner and smaller Ginostra on its west coast. The former features black-sand beaches, several hotels and most of the tourist services.