Sometime in the early fall of '77 I had the good fortune to visit the small Isola di Vulcano, (island of Vulcano) located off the northern coast of Sicily. Vulcano, as it turns out, is quite famous! This is the Original Volcano, not just the original Italian volcano, but the very original volcano for which all other volcanoes in the world take their name! It is part of the Aeolian Island chain, called locally Isole Eolie, or sometimes, incorrectly, called the Sicily Islands.

I had left the city of Milazzo for an hours-long hydrofoil ride to the beautiful, black sand beaches of Isola di Vulcano. Upon arrival, there was no avoiding the overwhelming and unmistakeable smell of sulphur that emanated from Vulcano's famous Laghetto de Fanghi, thermal mud baths. I had only two days to immerse myself in every experience Vulcano had to offer, the highlight of which was a trip to the therapeutic baths to shoot photos. My visit to the mud baths on Isola di Vulcano was a unique experience. As the warm waters escaped from fissures below to heat the fine, silty mud, I joined a small but very muddy crowd, applied it to my skin and painted my face like a child. I was in my early 20's, so at the time I could not perceive any promised cosmetic benefit, but perhaps I should return and try it again! 

As I had been living in the shadow of Mount Etna near Catania, Sicily for a few months, I was not concerned about being near an active volcano. The last reported eruption of this volcano occurred around 1888 to 1890. 

The woman photographed, either oblivious to, or perhaps just

not caring about her proximity to the Original Volcano, languished in the hot mud bath. She typified the countenance of the lucky partakers of the relaxing qualities of the warm, muddy pit, and this photo of her captures one of my most favorite memories. 

I would love to go back!

VULCANO, Isole Eolie 1977

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