THE AEOLIAN ISLANDS: LIPARI, SALINA, VULCANO, STROMBOLI, FILICUDI, ALICUDI E PANAREA (UNESCO – WORLD HERITAGE SITE SINCE 2000)

The Aeolian Islands constitute a volcanic arch created half a million years ago when two tectonic plates collided, causing magma to rise to the surface. There are still active volcanoes today: Stromboli, whose continuous explosions cause cascades of lapillus to fall on the “Sciara del fuoco” (fiery lava). Vulcano, whose last eruption was in 1888, known for the intense smoke-hole activity along the edges of the crater. The submerged opening Panarea’s crater is visible between the islands due to numerous smoke holes emitting magmatic gases.
The Aeolian Sea offers enchanting scenery, often only accessible by boat. Among cliffs, reefs and with a seabed rich in biodiversity. There are beaches of rare beauty, such as Valle Muria and Acquacaldain Lipari, Bazzini in Alicudi, Le Punte in Filcudi, Cala Zimmariin Panarea, the Gelso, the Sabbie Nere (black sands) in Vulcano and Piscità in Stromboli.
A crossroads between history and legends, the island are a simulating destination for cultural tourism. Humans have inhabited the Aeolian Islands for 8,000 years and have shaped its landscape by creating impressive terraces, leaving traces of their presence not only on the castle of Lipari monumental complex, which hosts the important “L. Bernabò Brea” Regional Archaeological Museum with its numerous relics from the Neolithic to the Byzantine era, but also in the perfectly preserved Bronze Age villages found on Capo Graziano in Filicudi, Serro del capo in Salina and Punta Milazzese in Panarea.
To discover the Aeolian landscapes, there are numerous trails, ideal for hiking enthusiasts, which wind their way among the soft-leaved scrubland, coastal meadows, broom and Mediterranean brush, composed of mostly heather and evergreen arbutus bushes.
The production of wine, particularly that made from Malvasia and Corinto Nero grapes, along with farming, where capers are grown alongside other local products, give an unmistakable character to a gastronomic tradition that reflects a long history of “isole contadine”- farming islands – that also includes the fishing of albacore, swordfish and prawns.

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MUST SEE

l A sunset tour of the island of Lipari. End the evening with a typical dinner in one of the renowated restaurants in the historic center.

2 Excursion to Vulcano, where you can’t miss a visit to the famous black sand beaches. Afterwards, a boat ride around the island. This island is characterized by perennial volcanic activity, highly appreciated by tourists who also enjoy the hot mud and the therapeutic underwater smoke-holes.

3 Visit to the Castle’s stronghold and the important Aeolian archeological museum. Later you can take a trip to Panarea to visit the present-day and prehistoric villages, and to Stromboli where there is a chance to either scale the volcano or admire the striking brilliance of the nocturnal volcanic activity from the sea.

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HOW TO GET HERE

The closest airports are Fontanarossa in Catania (110) that is served by public transport and private shuttles working in convention with the main Aeolian hotels; Reggio Calabria, right by the straits and which is more accessible in the summer thanks to hydrofoil connections between the Aeolian Islands and Reggio Calabria


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