“Woman is not born but made” wrote Simone de Beauvoir in The Second Sex (1949), her legendary book, the ultimate essay on European feminist philosophy. I was born in 1972 and I am still making myself a woman; the funny tomboy pictured with me, Neva, was born WOMAN in 1936. She then became IDDA, that is Her in Sicilian dialect. Neva is the fierce owner, cook, heart and soul of Locanda del Barbablù http://www.barbablu.it/, the Inn located on the volcanic island of Stromboli in the Mediterranean. In my opinion, she is indeed the reincarnation of Barbablù himself. Gifted with an unfading perseverance, born of peasant origin, genuine in every fiber of her body, this force of nature welcomes and restores travellers and sailors. Always very generous in giving advice and never shy of scolding you, Neva, named after the eponymous Russian river by her grandfather who went to war there, was born in Venice and listening to her cursing in Venetian dialect is one of the most exhilarating audio experience I have ever had the sick pleasure of experiencing. Never tamed, she shines with an explosive generous soul, a rock spirit and an outstanding persona. After 30 years spent in Sicily, Neva is nowadays a local in the tiny and peculiar island of Stromboli where she landed in 1980 along with Andrea, her Neapolitan partner, twenty years her junior. Well, Neva is no fool at all and a real cougar of yesteryear! For decades Andrea, polite and difficult barman (in the most upscale meaning of the word), has been the confessor, the shrink and the advisor of generations of lost and non-lost souls who have regularly besieged the Locanda, using the bar stools as if they were lying on a psych’s couch. I was, I am and will always be one of his patient. With very little patience on my part! At the end of the day, we shrunk his brain! After all, Stromboli is not a place for demure adventurers, with its fierce and flaming volcanic nature. And the same patrons, mostly residents and regular visitors, show a troubled and eccentric nature. The island is indeed nicknamed the island of the nuts. An outstandingly beautiful open-air asylum, steeped in a luxuriant scenery, but it is a well-known fact that where there’s paradise, there’s also its opposite. On the island, this ‘opposite’ is incarnated by Iddu, Him, the volcano constantly spitting red blood lava on the pitch-black valley. Always active and regularly spluttering. Just like Neva! From time to time, we regulars instead of waiting for Iddu’s burst, we wait for Idda’s outburst, which usually comes when local fishermen try to sell her the catch of the (yester)day. Then it is quite common to witness a funny incident in which Neva, faking a sort of calmness (only to baffle the enemy) erupts a resonant ‘sto par de cojoni’ (for fuck’s sake) in Venetian dialect. To then proceed to bash the unfortunate fraudulent fisherman with the catch of the (yester)day. Idda to me is a mother of adoption, Andrea my very best friend and Stromboli my motherly womb. The island is feminine, overwhelmingly female. Here I have grown and matured on an emotional and sexual level. My first ‘zipless fuck’ (quoting here another legendary book on women’s sexuality, Fear of Flying, by Erica Jong) happened precisely on this land in the year 1994. And then, I boomed!