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The Escape guide: The Aeolian Islands

Smouldering volcanoes, bubbling mud baths and steaming fumaroles make these tiny islands north of Sicily a truly hot destination. This extract from Time Out’s new Italy guide reveals the best places to eat, sleep and play

Astonishingly beautiful and extremely varied, the seven islands and various uninhabited islets of the Aeolian archipelago were designated a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2000. Their volcanic origins left a dramatic legacy of black-sand beaches, smouldering craters and splintered, rocky coastlines. Island-hoppers can discover their individual charms: from the spartan conical Alicudi, where donkeys are the only form of land transport, to the international jet-set playground of Panarea.

North of Sicily in the Tyrrhenian Sea, the archipelago was named after Aeolus, god of the winds, by Greek settlers. This has been a volatile part of the world ever since Filicudi, the first land mass, emerged from the sea 600,000 years ago. There are two active volcanoes, Stromboli and Vulcano, and volcanic activity of some kind, whether steaming fumaroles or thermal waters waiting to be tapped, on most of the other islands. Winter storms see the islands cut off for days.

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Riding the Moscow Metro

For less than a fiver, Paul Torpey takes in the sights above and below ground on a stop-by-stop tour of Moscow’s Koltsevaya metro line

Moscow is laid out like the cross-section of a tree trunk. From the Boulevard Ring dual carriageway, with its candy stripe of parkland, to the MKAD superhighway, a series of ring roads ripples out from Red Square. Beneath these streets lies yet another ring, the Koltsevaya Line on the city’s ornate metro system. Legend has it Stalin inadvertently designed the line by leaving a cup on an existing underground map. Nearly 20km long with 12 stations, the line appears brown on today’s maps supposedly in tribute to the dictator’s coffee stain.

As a first-time, non-Russian speaking visitor, I decided to get to know Moscow by circumnavigating the Koltsevaya Line and disembarking to explore the streets around each stop. The sumptuous architecture inside many of the stations is well known but, other than a few notable landmarks, I had little idea of what to expect overground.

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