The sea is the obvious geographical boundary of each of these islands, and, naturally enough it underpins the history and life of the people who live on them - rich in fascinating detail, generous to visitors, evoking a myriad of sensations and emotions. The marine and coastal landscapes reflect the skies above. The seasons, the weather, the rocky landscape, all make up the canvas on which the wind and light paint ever-changing images. Thanks to the excursions organised by local diving centres, you can explore the sea, to discover shipwrecks, and unspoiled flora and fauna, the conservation of which is assured by the new status of the Aeolian Islands as a Protected Marine Area. But this beauty is also accessible to those without diving gear: wearing only a mask, you can venture out among the fish, shellfish and aquatic plants, who make ideal companions for a rejuvenating and relaxing swim. Those who remain on the shore to sunbathe will be no less astonished by the variety of reefs created by lava flows; by beaches nestling against cliffs; by coastlines whitened by pumice stone, or blackened by volcanic sands; and by rocks and pebbles whose textures and shapes change from one island to another, on magically-named beaches from Pollara in Salina and Valle Muria in Lipari to Puntazzo in Filicudi, Bazzini in Alicudi, the Black Beach in Volcano, Cala Zimmari in Panarea and Piscità in Stromboli. You can also join boating and fishing excursions, moving from island to island, tucking into the catch of the day on board and discovering places which would otherwise be inaccessible.