Lipari, Salina, Vulcano, Alicudi, Filicudi, Panarea, Stromboli. In one word: Aeolian Islands. This splendid volcanic archipelago, north of Messina, owes its name to the god of wind, Aeolus, who has always reigned here, together with Vulcan, the god of fire. Elements that have forged the beauty - sometimes harsh, sometimes sweet - of these islands, loved by great directors and actors, such as Roberto Rossellini, Anna Magnani, Massimo Troisi, and frequented by the international jet-set. VIPs go crazy in Panarea, amidst the glow of the summer sky and the thunder of discos. On Vulcano, on the other hand, tourists flock around the pool of miraculous muds, wear themselves out on excursions to the crater and then cool off with baths in the western black sand bay. In the capital, and the main island in size, Lipari, the villas of millionaires rest secluded in the greenery, while the boats of Sting, Giorgio Armani and large cruise ships moor in front of the white pumice beaches. The tour of this island is not to be missed, especially at sunset, when the cliffs are enveloped by the last rays of the sun. In Stromboli you can breathe the tranquility of the views and the seabed, and look upwards, hoping that iddu, as the inhabitants call the volcano, will not get too angry. In the small Filicudi, intellectuals and politicians mingle with the residents, waiting for a visit to the Grotta del Bue Marino, while in Salina the forests of Mediterranean flora, nowhere to be found elsewhere, cover the two extinct volcanoes that earned the name of Didyme, or " Gemini". Finally, in the wildest and most remote Alicudi, the peace of silence triumphs, broken only by the lapping of the waves.
The history of the Aeolian Islands, from the Paleolithic to the Neolithic and up to today, is dotted with invasions, alliances, dominations, saints, boats and fishermen. After the Greek domination, which ended in 580 AD, Lipari chose to ally with Carthage, at the time of the Punic Wars. He bet on the losing horse and paid dearly for his choice, but his position was a thorn in the Roman side for the duration of the war. Rome immediately exploited the newly subdued Aeolian Islands, enhancing their trade and the thermal baths, as did all the other successive dominations, especially the Normans in the Middle Ages, and later Swabians, Angevins and Aragonese, up to the Kingdom of Naples. The strategic position of the Aeolian Islands aroused the imagination of the ferocious pirate Barbarossa, who in 1544 AD. he swooped into the island with dozens of ships, razed the resistant Lipari to the ground, stormed the fortress of the castle built by the Greeks and deported most of the population. Only with the Spanish domination did the archipelago begin to flourish again: the fortress was filled with churches, the cathedral was rebuilt and dedicated to St. Bartholomew, one of the 12 apostles, martyred in Armenia, patron saint of the Aeolian Islands. According to legend, his body, in the sarcophagus, miraculously landed in Lipari in the third century. A.D. on the beach of Porto delle Genti. To remember him, at the bottom of the nave, a statue that represents him: 400 kg of silver that are carried in procession every 24 August.
The Aeolian Islands form an archipelago consisting of seven real islands (Lipari, Salina, Panarea, Stromboli, Vulcano, Alicudi and Filicudi), to which are added some islets (such as Basiluzzo, Strombolicchio, Dattilo and Lisca Bianca) and rocks emerging from the sea . The seven islands are arranged in the shape of a "Y". Being off the Messina coast, they are visible from much of the Tyrrhenian coast of Sicily when there is no mist. The Aeolian Islands are all of volcanic origin and the vegetation is quite diverse. During the spring season, many species of wild orchids bloom, while on the more acidic volcanic soils, pink and white flower cysts bloom. The fauna is not numerous, but includes some interesting species, such as the Aeolian lizard, present today only on the islet La Canna (west of Filicudi), on the Scoglio Faraglione (west of Salina), on Strombolicchio and with modest Vulcano, where it appears to be in danger of extinction due to competition with the country lizard.
Alicudi e FilicudiThe westernmost islands of the archipelago, Alicudi and Filicudi, are characterized by craters of extinct volcanoes, with fabulous wild environments and lush underwater seabeds.
In Filicudi you can admire: the Faraglione La Canna (about 85 meters high), the Scoglio della Fortuna and the spectacular Grotta del Bue.
The silent Alicudi (cars are not allowed to circulate), is the "wildest" island and you can discover incredible Mediterranean sceneries, such as the Scoglio della Galera.
LipariIt is the largest island: its municipality gathers all the islands except that of Salina.
Interesting is the Archaeological Museum, located in the Castle of Lipari, which stands in a wide bay on the east coast, between the two inlets of Marina Lunga, and Marina Corta, still the best landing places today. The Greek acropolis and the Norman Cathedral are also splendid. Finally, do not miss a boat ride to admire splendid coves, such as that of Fico, and the beaches of Vinci, Valle Muria, Punta della Castagna and Capo Rosso.
PanareaIt is the smallest and lowest island of the Aeolian Islands (421 meters its highest point, the Timpone del Corvo), but the oldest of all and attracts many tourists for its pristine coasts, underwater eruptive phenomena and nightlife. .
The island forms a tiny archipelago together with the islets of Basiluzzo, Spinazzola, Lisca Bianca, Dattilo, Bottaro, Lisca Nera (of which few remains remain), the rocks of Panarelli and Formiche. The tourist port is in the district of San Pietro, with characteristic houses, shops and shops.
SalinaThe second largest island with the highest peaks in the archipelago is home to a beautiful forest of ferns (the Fossa delle Felci), overlooking beautiful beaches such as that of Pollara.
Salina is also famous for being the set of the film “Il Postino” by Massimo Troisi and for the renowned local granita.
StromboliStromboli is home to the most active of European volcanoes, with spectacular and frequent eruptions that can also be admired from the Punta Labronzo Observatory.
With a little luck you can witness the Sciara del Fuoco: the lava flow that descends to the sea.
To visit the village of San Vincenzo where the boats dock, with its characteristic white houses; the hamlet of Ginostra perched on the rock and reachable only by a mule track; the Strombolicchio rock, born from one of the oldest volcanic eruptions of the Aeolian Islands.
VulcanoTherasia ", which literally translates as" hot land ", is the ancient name of the island sacred to the god Vulcan. The island of Vulcano is mythologically recognized, in Greek tradition, as the seat of the forges of Hephaestus, god of fire, technology and metallurgy, the god Vulcan, hence the current name of the island. It is said that the god Vulcan, aided by the Cyclops, forged weapons for the gods.
The island is the result of the merger of some volcanoes, the Vulcano della Fossa, flanked by the smaller one, Vulcanello.