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Ritrovo Ingrid Granita

Italian ices on an otherworldly Sicilian island

by Paolo Ferrarini in Travel on 20 July 2010

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The place to go for a secluded Mediterranean holiday is Stromboli, an island of the Aeolian archipelago along Silicy's northern coast. An active volcano, Iddu (“him” in a Sicilian dialect), rumbles and fumes, lending a supernatural air to the island's atmosphere. On Stromboli's narrowly unlit streets, no automobiles are permitted—except for electric carts and the diminutive three-wheeled Ape ("bee" in Italian)—where pedestrians walk with flashlights at night.

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Atop Piazza San Vincenzo, the main meeting place here is Ritrovo Ingrid, a bar and restaurant with amazing views of the sea and remote Strombolicchio sea stack and lighthouse. The charming locale is named after actress Ingrid Bergman, who spent several weeks in a nearby house in 1950 while filming Roberto Rossellini’s "Stromboli, Terra di Dio," a classic of Italian neorealism.

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Ingrid's opens at 8AM, the perfect time for breakfast and a traditional Sicilian granita with whipped cream—the predecessor of the frappuccino—and, of course, a warm brioche on the side. The best flavors are almond, pistachio, mulberry, watermelon and coffee. At noon, a succulent arancino is served (try pistachio and ham); for dinner, pizza at Conte Ugolino downstairs.

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People meet at Ingrid's every hour—hikers seeking refreshment after a visit to Iddu's smoking crater as well as beach-goers, artists and families, foreigners and locals, youngsters and grownups. The mood is always friendly and relaxed, thanks to the accommodating staff and Stromboli's slow way of life.

Ritrovo Ingrid is open 8AM to midnight or 3AM during high summer.

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