for a quick 'vulcan experience' i suggest vulcano. stromboli or 'iddu' as the locals call 'him' demands an overnight stay, or he might get very angry, after all, he is etna's little brother! i am biased towards stromboli. it's a magical place. The asymmetrical whitewashed houses with brightly painted doors, windows and caper shaped chimneys, pasta ala strombolana at punta lena restaurant. all unforgettable memories. the crater can be reached only via guided tours (safety reasons). i think those are available only in the evenings to catch the eruptions at night. went to vulcano in july for a day trip. have to admit didn't see much of the island, my goal was to climb to the edge of the crater. the view up there is incredible, the landscape otherworldly, including vents spewing out sulfur smoke! the climb is quicker and you don't need a guide. either way, both islands are a charming escape from the hustle-bustle for either the mainland or sicily.