Aeolian Island

Palermo
2 Aprile 2016
Lipari
2 Aprile 2016
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Aeolian Island

In brief:

On the routes of the mythical Ausonians and Cnydian sailors north-east of the Sicilian coast, whipped by a salty wind, the Aeolian archipelago spreads out, like a fan, its seven enchanted isles which, because of their explosive volcanic nature, are sisters of the Hawaiian islands, the pearls of the Pacific. The Aeolian islands, starting in remote times, were colonised by Neolithic peoples interested in exploiting obsidian, an insuperable material for making carving tools. Between the sixteenth and fourteenth centuries B.C., the islands became an important commercial stage on the metal way, and in particular on the tin route, which from the British Isles went down to the orient, passing through the Straits of Messina. Later, in the Roman epoch, the archipelago prospered with the sulphur, alum and salt trade, which however gradually declined, until the islands were abandoned. This was due to further eruptions and also to the fact that the Second Nicea Council designated them a dwelling of the devil and a place of physical manifestations of this disturbing presence. Then in the Norman epoch the islands were gradually re-peopled and started a new season of splendours, taking on what is more or less their physiognomy now.

Alicudi

Alicudi, the youngest of Aeolian islands, is one of the less explored islands. It has a small number of inhabitants and does not have carriage roads. Its west side is rich in steep slopes which make it difficult to cross, while the east side is charcterized by terraces. The Falco della Regina a small island that represent an oasis of peace, out of crowded tourist circuits, offers different accomodations such as: hotels, room for rent, bed & breakfast.This beautiful small island can be admired from Alicudi.

Filicudi

This small and remote island of Aeolian, is an ideal destination for a peaceful holiday, for tourists who want to leave behind the chaos of big city life. The island is charcterized by the presence of the mountain Fossa delle Felci (773 m.). Its inhabitants (almost 200 people) live in Filicudi porto and Vallechiesa, these areas are composed by houses with thick white walls that make an excellent contrast with the blue coloured sea. The island is charcterized by two types of accomodations such as: room for rent and hotels.

Lipari

As you approach Lipari, it appears lively and picturesque, dominated by the rock on which the ancient town stands; it has always been the heart of the archipelago. In its museum, which is one of the most interesting in the Mediterranean, there are countless vestiges of the history of the island and the successive stratifications, as in a gigantic palimpsest of a period of 5000 years of  civilisation perfectly legible in the open diggings among the imposing walls with bastions. On Lipari a volcanological tour is an absolute must, amid flows of obsidian and white expanses of pumice,  materials with the same chemical composition, differing only in their state: the former glassy, spongy the other one, because of the sudden reduction of temperature in the magma in the final phase of eruptions. Between Canneto and Acquacalda, two nice maritime boroughs not yet ruined by mass tourism, along the sea, in the direction of Punta Castagna, lies the spectacular obsidian flow of the Rocce Rosse (Red Rocks). Between the Pomiciazzo gorge and Lami, a lunar  landscape heralds in the now inactive crater of Monte Chirica, beyond which the soft cliffs of Campobianco go down to the sea and into the crystalline waters off the Porticello beach. Likewise unrivalled are the panoramas that one can enjoy from the Quattrocchi heights towards the monumental Perciato cliffs, to the sides of which there are the picturesque “needles”, beyond which the gaseous and sulphurous fumes of Vulcano rise. But Lipari is not only this. It is also in the old part of the town, a nice salon from the Umberto period with windows and balconies as delicate as lace, from which multicoloured cascades of geraniums and delicate carnations descend. An island for all tastes, with shady gardens scented with jasmine and basil, sunny terraces facing the sea, where gastronomic hospitality is perpetuated with its own physiognomy and traditions.

Panarea

Is the smallest and the lowest of the Aeolian Islands. The highest point is Timpone del Corvo, at an altitude of 421 metres.

Together with Basiluzzo, Spinazzola, Lisca Bianca, Dattilo, Bottaro, Lisca Nera, the Panarelli and the Formiche rocks, it forms a small archipelago that lies approximately mid-way between Lipari and Stromboli. Panarea is covered in Mediterranean maquis vegetation, rich in prickly pear, agave, genista and capers, and with numerous century-old olive trees. The crystal-clear seas boast endless nuances of colour. The most alluring spot on Panarea is the exclusive Cala Junco bay, on the southernmost tip of the island, with a picturesque beach surrounded by rock walls formed by incandescent lava; at the top is the prehistoric village.

The houses on the island are grouped into three areas: San Pietro, Ditella and Drautto.

The main road that crosses Panarea from north to south is closed to cars, and weaves its way in and out the houses, offering some fabulous views, such as Stromboli and the cliffs that face the island.

Panarea, situated on the Cala Junca cliff, Capo Milazzese, conserves intact the vestiges of a culture which here went on from 1440 to 1270 B.C., giving rise to a settlement of major archaeological interest. Inhabitants of Panarea are called “panarioti”. They live in the main three centers such as: Pietro, Drauto, Ditella. The scenery, characterized by flourishing mediterranean vegetation, is rich in thermal springs and hydrothermal vent, in the sea marvellous and suggestive rocks emerge among them we remember: Basiluzzo, Dattilo, Lisca Nera and Lisca Bianca, Bottaro, Spinazzola and Formiche.

Salina

On Salina one must not fail to visit Monte Porri and Monte Fossa delle Felci. On the latter, at almost 1000 metres above sea level, the ancient crater has been colonised by gigantic aquiline ferns which are added to the luxuriant vegetation of Salina, conferring on the latter an almost tropical look. Not far away, Filicudi and Alicudi, between which the soaring spire of the Canna rock stand out against the horizon. Both distant from the din of mass tourism, they offer scope for abandon and meditation, which are unthinkable at the noisy latitude of our civilisation. Near Canna, sea beds rich in sponges and coral offer unexpected sights for those who love underwater photography. Another highly fascinating sight in the archipelago is the basalt rocks of Basiluzzo, Dattilo and Lisca Bianca facing Panarea, with which, as Strabo tells us, they once formed a single island, Evonimos, which a cataclysm split into the present ones. Monumental solitudes characterise this group of rocks near which, from imposing mouths of submerged hydrothermal vent, gurgling bubbles of gaseous vapours rise, which, in ancient times, were the scenario of probable worship of Hephaestus.

Stromboli

Stromboli rises out of the water with the dry symmetry of its shapes perennially crowned by eruptive fumes. Its impervious Ginostra harbour is the smallest one in the world, while, beyond the fire zone, where moaning and hissing the lava touches the sea, the villages of Piscità, Ficogrande and Scari, open up, airy and white, gathered around the white mass of the San Vincenzo church. Beyond the very black glassy beach,  where there are reeds rising from the abysses of the Tyrrhenian, raises Strombolicchio, the primeval duct of the volcano, a fanciful natural sculpture in which fire, water and wind have left their eternal impress.

Vulcano

Vulcano still appears like a relict of the world’s prehistory, perennially fuming amid lava flows and mud bubbling with gas. The eruptive mouth rises to a height of 386 metres, where the big crater, which you can get to without too much difficulty and peril, raises its crest which dominates the western and eastern harbours, the Valley of Monsters and the profiles, gradually further and further away, of the other islands. Well worth a visit are the alum grottoes and the sulphur mines, where in the Bourbon epoch a population of damned people lived forced to extract the precious mineral. On the coast, in the north-western part of the island, there is the imposing Cavallo (horse) grotto, along the wild and half-deserted shore which slopes gently

down to the sea with the black Gelso beaches over which there is an euphorbia scrub and twisted prickly pear plants.