Aeolian islands ( Islands of Lipari )

Aeolian islands ( or Islands of Lipari ) – a group of islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea north of Sicily. Aeolian Islands are islands frozen in volcanic lava. Until now, there are active volcanoes here. Geologists believe that the islands were created by the movement of the African platform against the European.
The archipelago comprises seven beautiful islands of volcanic origin – Lipari , Vulcano , Stromboli, Salina , Panarea , Filicudi , Alicudi. The Aeolian Islands are a UNESCO heritage and is famous among tourists with unusual blue sea and unspoiled nature. The mild Mediterranean climate makes the holiday in these islands comfortable even during the hottest summer months.
The climate in the Aeolian Islands is mild, Mediterranean. The sun is shining here in 2528 hours per year. Slight rain falls mainly in the winter months – from December to March.
The archipelago can be reached by a ferry and hydrofoils from the ports of Milazzo and Messina , and from Palermo, Cefalu, San’t Agata Militello, from Cape D’Orlando, from Naples, Vibo Valentia, Livorno and Reggio Calabria.

Lipari ( 37.6 sq. km) is the largest and most populated island of the archipelago (about 11,000 inhabitants), located 30 km north of Messina. In the summer tourist season the island’s population reaches 20,000 people. The largest settlements is Lipari, which is on the east coast of the island , at the foot of Mount Rosa (Monte Rosa), it is the administrative center of the archipelago (only the island of Salina has its independent municipalities) . The main part of the island’s population lives in the town of Lipari and 4 large settlements: Pianoconte (west) , Quattropani (north- west), Acquacalda (on the north coast) and Canneto (on the east coast). The island of Lipari shows no volcanic activity today, its ancient fire-breathing mountains are now considered extinct , their cones are arranged without any order , and well preserved. The last eruption occurred 230,000 years ago. Lipari is one of the oldest cities in the world. About the antique history of the city remind the remains of the city walls, grown into the steep volcanic cliffs when entering the port. After going just a few meters along the quays of the port, you find yourself on a zig-zag street that climbs up the rock to the cathedral, erected on the ruins of the ancient Acropolis in honor of St. Bartholomew, the patron saint of Aeolus. All that is around is an entire archaeological museum, so the city of Lipari and also referred to as an open air museum: in buildings are collection of historical periods (Neolithic , Bronze Age , Ancient Greece , Rome, aboriginal civilization aeolian ), underfoot – excavations and still not open to the world exhibits. Staggering are collection of clay theatrical masks belonging to the era of ancient Greece. While vacationing on the island of Lipari, undoubtedly will be a great pleasure to see the shop of sculptor Spada, the famous sculptor, author of the statue of Venus in the Archaeological Museum of Venice. He re-created the complete collection of Greek masks in his workshop, so the tourists have a unique opportunity to give themself a little copy of the rare archaeological collection , created by the hands of famous master.
The natural and historical attractions include terms of San Calogero. It is the oldest of the surviving thermal designs (XVII century BC!) – the water supply channels, tank for heating, etc.
The first settlers of Lipari were attracted by abundant reserves of obsidian, a volcanic glass that has  found wide application in the manufacture of tools of that time. Today, the obsidian is not only the history of the island, but also the material for local artists for producing jewelry: necklaces , pendants , earrings , brooches, rings …. and a souvenir figurines. Particular attention should be paid to jewelry manufactured in the manners of the ancient Mycenaean jewelry – the creation of a pattern on the black surface by applying a white notches.

Salina ( 26.8 sq. km) – the second largest island with a population of about 2,400 people living in three municipalities of Santa Marina Salina, Malfa and Leni, is located in the center of the archipelago. The island is composed of two dormant volcanoes in the east – Fossa delle Felci, height 968 m, which is the highest point of the Aeolian (Lipari) Islands and the west – Monte dei Porri (860 meters). Six volcanoes scattered around the island, and the most ancient of them have little resemblance to volcanoes, but others, mostly about Forza delle Felci leave no doubt as to its volcanic origin. The last eruption of the volcano Pollari, located in the western part of the island,  was about 13,000 years ago. Due to strong shocks the upper part of the volcano ( crater) went down into the sea, creating a large flat plateau, a large amphitheater created by nature. This island is a real breadbasket of the archipelago. There are most beautiful places on the island, clean, rich in fish sea, verdant hills, vineyards and olive groves. Here grow the famous capers, useful medical properties of which Hippocrates noted himself. At Saline is produced the nectar of the gods – Aeolian Malvasia – aromatic wine amber. Locals say that at the beginning of the last century in Salina several times came Russian war ships with a special mission: to buy food for his imperial majesty’s renowned beverage and capers with salt. Every year in Pollari is held the festival of capers, where the best restaurants of island demonstrate their skills in cooking dishes with capers. Variety of tastes of this product is unique – in the phases of a small bud and bud before opening, you can feel and appreciate visiting this traditional event on the island of Salina.
Great is the history of this island, which tells about the time when the island of  26 square km. had 150 merchant ships … Great are people who live in Salina, revived their father’s tradition of winemaking, dairying, farming after the disastrous drought in the 30-ies of the last century, keeping the history of the event at the Museum of Immigration.

Vulcano (21 sq. km) – the most southern of the Aeolian islands with a population of about 500 people , located 25 km north of Sicily and is a volcanic massif with several craters. The Greek called Iera (sacred), suggesting that this is where lives Aeolus, keeping in leather wineskins all eight winds of the Mediterranean, and deep in the bowels of the earth, according to legend is burning the furnace of divine smithy, where Hephaestus and the Cyclopes are forging arrows for Zeus the Thunderer. The Romans renamed the god calling the island with a new name – Vulcano. In the center of the island is remarkable Grand Cratere volcano with two craters , which became famous for its explosive nature of the eruptions and lava flows. The last eruption occurred in the years of 1888-1890 and since then on the island gas fumaroles permanently « breathe », which are cracks and holes located in the craters on the slopes and at the foot of the volcano. Climbing the volcano takes about 40 minutes, but the effort is justified by the sensations that arise from the possibility to look directly into the mouth of a volcano, the neighboring islands and the boundless sea, limited only by the horizon. The crater of the volcano is clogged with lava tube, along the faults of the crater are deposited yellow stripes of sulfur, located at the foot of the volcano hot springs, heated by the volcano, and that’s why the island of Vulcano is so attractive for its sulfur mud baths,  which , they say, heals from all diseases. This hot spring is making its way from somewhere in the depths of the volcano, where there are underground fumaroles, and flows into the sea not far from the coast, so in some places the sea is  » boiling  » as a jacuzzi. It is recommended to enter into the water in beach slippers, otherwise you may burn your feet.
Another attraction of the island is « the valley of the monsters. » Black volcanic sand and low rare vegetation create a sense of unreality that is amplified by lying here and there boulders, many of which resemble the outlines of animals, frozen in the most fantastic poses that, in fact, gave the name of the reserve.
On the island of Vulcano you can see numerous herds of sheep and goats, grazing on the fertile slopes of the volcano all year round. It is the only island of the archipelago, where agriculture consists only in livestock breeding.

Stromboli (21 square kilometers ) – the farthest from Sicily , the youngest (it was risen from the depths of the sea only 113 thousand years ago) , the easternmost island of the current, constantly active volcano (3 crater ), which is known for frequent, small eruptions observed from different parts of the surrounding sea. The eruption of the volcano Stromboli is almost incessant eruption, lasting for the past 20,000 years. At night, illuminated from below with the lava, they can be seen at long distances, so that Stromboli is called  » Lighthouse Mediterranean. »
The island’s population is of about 750 people. If the northern side of the island appears harsh and rocky , the eastern, with its soft green hills covered with olive groves and vineyards seems more fun : capers with delicate flowers, plants typical of these places, climbing on the rocks . Here is also produced the famous wine  » Malvasia « .
Stromboli immortalized the outstanding film director Roberto Rossellini, starring in 1950 film  » Stromboli , land of God » with Ingrid Bergman in the title role.

Filicudi island (9.5 sq. km) is located to the west of Salina Island, about 65 km from Messina. The island contains several villages, the largest is Pecorini Mare and Valdichiesa. In addition to fishing, the island developed agriculture, growing of grape, olives, grains and vegetables. In 1997, about three-quarters of the island ( 7 sq . Km . ) was transferred into reserve. The highest point of the island is the mountain of Monte Fossa delle Felci ( 774 m ) . Scala La Canna of 74 m height is located in the sea off the coast of the island. The name of the island comes from the corrupted Greek Phoenicusa, means  » Phoenician « .

Alicudi ( 5.2 square kilometers ) – the westernmost island of the archipelago , is 20 km to the west of the island of Fulikudi. The name comes from the Greek name ofeEvergreen plants of heather Eric family, who frows abundantly on the island. Alicudi island has the shape of a cone and was formed almost 60,000 years ago on the site of the volcano Montanona, whose last eruption took place 30,000 years ago. The primary occupation of the population is fishing. The cone-shaped island attracts with its unusual landscape . Tthere are no cars on the Island – where else can you see it? Only donkeys and constructed in ancient times large ladders are embracing the island , descending and ascending between small villas, churches and other buildings .

Panarea ( 3.24 square kilometers ) – one of the smallest islands of the Aeolian archipelago with a population of about 280 people located 22 km from Messina. The highest point of the island is Pizzo del Corvo ( Crow Peak ) – 421 m above sea level. Panarea is the most elegant island, conquering with its pristine beauty as well as the monuments of ancient civilization. There are only 3 small settlements: Drauto, Iditella and San Pietro with the typical houses of the islanders with low walls and courtyards . Here you can find sailing sport and high life lovers.

 

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