The Aeolian Islands, also known as the Lipari Islands, form an archipelago located to the north of Sicily in the Tyrrhenian Sea. The islands are volcanic and are home to Stromboli and Vulcano, both active volcanoes. The archipelago is made up of seven islands; Lipari, Salina, Vulcano, Stromboli, Filicudi, Alicudi and Panarea. The name derives from Aeolus, the god of wind, who according to Greek mythology, found shelter on the Aeolian Islands. It is said that he lived on the island of Lipari and was able to predict the weather for the inhabitants of the island, which was important for the fishermen. Aeolus gained great popularity in the islands, so much so that they named the islands after him.

The Aeolian Islands have been inhabited since ancient times and due to the presence of pumice stone and obsidian, a type of volcanic glass, the islands became important on the trade routes. During the Greek period, this archipelago represented an important crossroads and meeting place for Phoenicians, Greeks and Etruscans. The islands have been ruled and conquered by various populations, including Arabs, Spaniards and Normans. In 2000 the archipelago was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as a biosphere reserve.

Places to visit

The Regional Archaeological Museum is located in Lipari, and house objects and artefacts from populations who inhabited the islands as far back as the prehistoric age up to the Middle Ages. The coasts of Lipari are mostly high and rocky and do not offer many bays or coves. But one of the most beautiful beaches is Pollara in Salina, where many scenes from the film The Postino were shot. The beach has a breathtaking view during the sunset. The island is also known for its black sand beaches, where the tiny lava stones look like little crystals when the sun shines on them. There is also great flora and fauna to see, for example in Lipari you can find heather, oleander, myrtle and rosemary which perfume the whole island.  The caper tree is a symbol of the islands and pink heather blooms until late summer, purple or white hibiscus peeps from the gardens of villas in an explosion of colour. The Bougainvillea, a plant imported into Europe by the French explorer De Bouganville, grows on walls of the villas, cascading with colour.

Travel guides and tips: AEOLIAN ISLANDS

Discover how to reach and what to do in Aeolian Islands: tips, events, local festivals, culture, food and all the other details to explore Aeolian Islands can be found on our blog!

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