Napolitano and his deep bond with Stromboli, his summer “buen retiro” since he was 14 years old


By John

Giorgio Napolitano has always been linked to Strombolisince his adolescence. At the age of 14, in shorts combined with a long-sleeved red t-shirt, the future President of the Republic landed on the Aeolian island for the first time. Since that moment that volcano on the sea, which has continued to attract tourists with its spectacular eruptions, it was Napolitano’s summer “buen retiro” for years. The islanders rightly considered him one of their own and never failed to show him closeness and affection every time Napolitano returned to Stromboli.

Many remembered his long swims, first on the beach of Pisicità, where for many years he was a guest with his wife Clio of “Casa matta”, the summer residence of family friends who always discreetly protected the privacy of the Napolitano couple. In particular, after the election to the Quirinale, which took place nine years earlier. On that occasion the parish priest, Don Antonino Costa, had the bells of the church of San Vincenzo ring in celebration.

Many remembered the president’s long walks on the island, from Scari to Ficogrande. Stefano Caizzone, the owner of the “Il Canneto” restaurant, dedicated his favorite dish to Napolitano: the presidential macaroni rolls. At “Zurro”, another typical restaurant, the President always asked for spaghetti with clams and baked snapper before finishing with a typical local dessert. The granitas of the “Bar Ingrid”, in honor of Ingrid Bergman who thanks to Roberto Rossellini’s film made the island famous at an international level, were another passion of Napolitano, as Massimiliano Cincotta, who was also the president of the team, had said football “sponsored” by Giorgio Armani.

Napolitano’s holidays on Stromboli were characterized by a series of ritual appointments, such as the afternoon literary meetings in the “bagghiu” of the “Libreria sull’isola”, which was also the headquarters of Fabio Famularo’s “StromboliLibri” publishing house. Or the concert on the terrace of “Casa Lamanta”, at the foot of the volcano, organized specifically for the President by Alberto Contri, former Rai councilor. Among the selected friends with whom Napolitano loved to converse, over a glass of Malvasia and a babà, were the journalist Marcello Sorgi, the writer Lidia Ravera, and the architect Roberto Pagliero.

The president and his wife generally spent a couple of weeks in August on Stromboli. Napolitano reached the island, like any tourist, on board the Laurana ferry. Marco Giorgianni, mayor of Lipari, to whom Stromboli was administratively linked, said: «The thing that struck me most was the request of his staff: the welcome to the president had to be simple and without any institutional formality».