The Aeolian Islands (/iːˈoʊliən/) (Italian: Isole Eolie, pronounced [ˈiːzole eˈɔːlje], Sicilian: Ìsuli Eoli, Greek: Αιολίδες Νήσοι, Aiolides Nisoi) are a volcanic archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea north of Sicily, named after the demigod of the winds Aeolus. The islands' inhabitants are known as Aeolians (Italian: Eoliani). The Aeolian Islands are a popular tourist destination in the summer and attract up to 200,000 visitors annually.
The largest island is Lipari and the islands are sometimes referred to as the Lipari Islands or Lipari group. The other islands include Vulcano, Salina, Stromboli, Filicudi, Alicudi, Panarea and Basiluzzo.
Aerial view of the Aeolian Islands
Map of the Aeolian Islands
|UNESCO World Heritage Site|
|Official name||Isole Eolie (Aeolian Islands)|
|Inscription||2000 (24th Session)|
The present shape of the Aeolian Islands is the result of volcanic activity over a period of 260,000 years. There are two active volcanoes – Stromboli and Vulcano. The volcanic activity of steaming fumaroles and thermal waters are on most of the islands. The volcanic activity has also left the islands with very fertile soil that is conducive to the growth of natural flora.
Geologically the archipelago is defined as a volcanic arc. The origin of the Aeolian Islands is due to movement of the Earth's crust as a result of plate tectonics. The African continental shelf is in constant movement towards Europe. The resulting collision has created a volcanic area with ruptures in the Earth's crust with consequent eruptions of lava. The "Aeolian Arc" extends for more than 140 km (87 mi), but the area of geological instability caused by the collision of Africa and Europe is much larger. It includes Sicily, Calabria, and Campania together with Greece and the Aegean islands.
The complex of the eight Aeolian Islands, covering an area of 1,600 km2 (620 sq mi), originated in the Tyrrhenian Basin, a great plain at the bottom of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Emissions of lava from depths of up to 3,600 m (11,800 ft) resulted in the formation of the Aeolian Islands, together with Ustica and a series of submarine volcanoes named Magnani, Vavilov, Marsili and Palinuro, as well as two that are unnamed.
Curbing urban development has been a key to preserving the Aeolian islands in a natural state. New buildings are severely restricted. Existing residences can be bought and restored but must be constructed to resemble its whitewashed houses. Traditional houses consist of modular cubes constructed from indigenous building materials—stone, lava, pumice and tufo. Almost all houses have a large outdoor terrace, usually shaded by grape-vines and flowering vines. The houses, balconies and terraces are mostly decorated with brightly patterned terra-cotta tiles, a throwback to long-ago Spanish conquerors.
During the Bronze Age, the Aeolians prospered by means of maritime commerce in an area which extended from Mycenae to the British Isles, from where tin was imported. Villages on the Aeolian islands flourished on Capo Graziano (Filicudi), Castello (Lipari), Serro dei Cianfi (Salina), Capo Milazzese (Panarea), and Portella (Salina). All these settlements were destroyed by new Italic invasions in 1250 BC.
In 580 BC, Greeks exiled from Rhodes and Knidos landed at Lipari and began a period of Greek domination, which was known for acts of piracy against Etruscan and Phoenician shipping. There was production of vases and other ceramics.
The islanders were allies of the Carthaginians against Rome during the Punic Wars. Although the Battle of the Lipari Islands in 260 BC led to a Carthaginian victory, the Romans later sacked Lipari and their domination led to a period of poverty.
At the fall of the Roman Empire, the Aeolian Islands came under the sway of the Visigoths, the Vandals and the Ostrogoths, followed by the domination of the Byzantine Empire. In 264, a coffin which contained the body of Bartholomew washed up on the beach of Lipari, with the result that Bartholomew was immediately elected the patron saint of the Aeolian Islands. Calogeras the hermit was active on Lipari during the first half of the 4th century and he gave his name to the thermal springs. In 836 the Arabs sacked Lipari, massacred most of the population, and enslaved the survivors.
The Normans liberated Sicily from the Arabs. Roger II of Sicily sent the Benedictine monks to Lipari, which gave rise to considerable development on the islands. A cathedral dedicated to Saint Bartholomew was built, as well as the Benedictine monastery in the castle. Lipari became a bishopric and agriculture made progress in Salina, as well as the smaller islands. In 1208 Frederick II of Swabia acceded to the throne of Sicily. The period of prosperity which followed, and which was consolidated during the course of his reign, ended with the domination of the Angevins and the rebellion of the Sicilians which culminated in the revolt of the Sicilian Vespers. The Aeolians however, remained loyal to Charles of Anjou, and commercial links were established with Naples, the capital of the Angevin kingdom. In 1337 Lipari opened its gates to the French fleet without resistance, and in return obtained various commercial and fiscal benefits. In the mid-15th century, Naples and Palermo united into the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies under the crown of Alfonso V of Aragon. Aeolian privileges were recognized. Aeolian privateers fought alongside the Spanish against the French.
On June 30, 1544, a fleet of 180 Ottoman vessels under the command of the corsair Hayreddin Barbarossa occupied Lipari and laid siege to the castle. The defenders surrendered. Historically, it is said around 9,000 of the 10,000 citizens of Lipari were captured and enslaved although a couple of more recent scholars have questioned this number arguing for a lower population at the time of Barbarossa. A number of citizens were ransomed in Messina and returned to the islands but most of those captured never returned. Only after the tragedy did the Spanish authorities turn their attention to Lipari and repopulate the city with Sicilian, Calabrian and Spanish families. The city walls and houses were rebuilt and an Aeolian fleet was constructed which was able to successfully defend the Tyrrhenian Sea from the Ottomans.
In 1693, an earthquake destroyed all the towns in eastern Sicily, causing around 60,000 deaths. After the population invoked the protection of Saint Bartholomew during prayers in the cathedral, there was not a single victim on the Aeolian Islands. The economic conditions of the islands improved greatly during the 17th century with agricultural progress (malvasia grapes, capers, and a variety of fruit, vegetables and fishing). With the Bourbons came the introduction of criminal and political prisoners to the islands. In 1916, the penal colony was closed, but the Fascist regime unsuccessfully tried to reopen it in 1926. The island population reacted by pulling down the remains of the ex-penitentiary in the castle. However, not long after, the castle was converted to accommodate anti-Fascist political prisoners in enforced exile. Liparians fraternized with these exiles until the Allies' liberation. After the war, the same room that had housed the opponents of Fascism became the Aeolian Archaeological Museum.
Towards the end of the 19th century, the Aeolian Islands were visited by Archduke Ludwig Salvator of Austria—a friend of the islands and also a man with a profound knowledge of the archipelago. Between the years 1893–96 he published a work of eight volumes on the Aeolian Islands.
In August 1888, the crater named Fossa on Vulcano erupted and caused many deaths in the sulphur mines. The eruptions continued for 19 months.
On New Year's Day in 1909, a rumor appeared in international newspapers that the Aeolian Islands had been "swallowed up by the sea" during a time of volcanic activity. While communication with the islands was interrupted for a time, they were not otherwise lost.
The Aeolian Islands were listed by UNESCO in 2000 as a World Heritage Site for providing "an outstanding record of volcanic island-building and destruction, and ongoing volcanic phenomena". Status as a World Heritage Site was threatened by Italy's failure to close the pumice quarry as well as its failure to prevent the building of 4 new harbors. However, as of January 2019, it is still listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site.
Aeolian or Eolian refers to things related to Aeolus, the Greek God of wind and patriarch of the Greeks of Aeolia. Specific items include:
Aeolian Islands, islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea
Aeolian or Aeolic order, an early order of Classical architecture
Aeolian processes, wind-generated geologic processes
Aeolian dust, atmospheric or wind-borne dust
Aeolians, an ancient Greek tribe allegedly descended from Aeolus, son of Hellen
Eolian, a volume of poetry by David Bates (poet)
Eolian (Solar car), a solar car designed at the University of Chile
Eolianite, a sandstone formed from wind-transported sedimentIn music:
Aeolian (album), an album by German post-metal band The Ocean Collective
Aeolian Company (1887–1985), a maker of organs, pianos, sheet music, and phonographs
Aeolian Hall (disambiguation), any one of a number of concert halls of that name
Aeolian harp, a harp that is played by the wind
Aeolian mode, a musical mode, the natural minor key
Aeolian Quartet (1952–1981), a string quartet based in London
Aeolian-Skinner (1932–1972), pipe organ builderAlicudi
Alicudi (Italian pronunciation: [aliˈkuːdi]) is the westernmost of the eight islands that make up the Aeolian archipelago, a volcanic island chain north of Sicily. The island is about 40 km (25 mi) west of Lipari, has a total area of 5.2 km2 (2.0 sq mi), and is roughly circular. It is located at 38°32′45″N 14°21′00″E.Basiluzzo
Basiluzzo (Italian pronunciation: [baziˈlutt͡so]) is an islet (barely 1 km2 (0.39 sq mi)), and the smallest of eight islands in the Aeolian Islands, a volcanic island chain north of Sicily. In antiquity, the island was named "Hycesia".Battle of Tyndaris
The Battle of Tyndaris was a naval battle of the First Punic War that took place off Tyndaris (modern Tindari) in 257 BC. Tyndaris was a Sicilian town founded as a Greek colony in 396 BC located on the high ground overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea in the Gulf of Patti. Hiero II, the tyrant of Syracuse, allowed Tyndaris to become a base for the Carthaginians. The battle took place in the waters between Tyndaris and the Aeolian Islands, with Gaius Atilius Regulus in command of the Roman fleet. Subsequently, the town fell to Rome.Battle of the Lipari Islands
The Battle of the Lipari Islands or Lipara in 260 BC was the first encounter between the fleets of Carthage and the Roman Republic during the First Punic War. A Roman squadron of 17 ships commanded by the senior consul for the year Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio was trapped in Lipara harbour by 20 Carthaginian ships under Boodes. The inexperienced Romans made a poor showing, losing all 17 of their ships captured.Filicudi
Filicudi (Italian pronunciation: [filiˈkuːdi]) is one of eight islands that make up the Aeolian archipelago, situated 30–50 km (19–31 mi) northeast of the island of Sicily, southern Italy. It is a frazione of the comune of Lipari.L'Avventura
L'Avventura (English: "The Adventure") is a 1960 Italian film directed by Michelangelo Antonioni and starring Gabriele Ferzetti, Monica Vitti, and Lea Massari. Developed from a story by Antonioni with co-writers Elio Bartolini and Tonino Guerra, the film is about the disappearance of a young woman (Massari) during a boating trip in the Mediterranean, and the subsequent search for her by her lover (Ferzetti) and her best friend (Vitti). It was filmed on location in Rome, the Aeolian Islands, and Sicily in 1959 under difficult financial and physical conditions. The film is noted for its unusual pacing, which emphasizes visual composition, mood, and character over traditional narrative development.
L'Avventura was nominated for numerous awards and was awarded the Jury Prize at the 1960 Cannes Film Festival. The film made Monica Vitti an international star. According to an Antonioni obituary, the film "systematically subverted the filmic codes, practices and structures in currency at its time." L'Avventura is the first film of a trilogy by Antonioni, followed by La Notte (1961) and L'Eclisse (1962). It has appeared on Sight & Sound's list of the critics' top ten greatest films ever made three times in a row: It was voted second in 1962, fifth in 1972 and seventh in 1982. In 2010, it was ranked #40 in Empire magazine's "The 100 Best Films Of World Cinema."Leni
Leni is a comune (municipality) and one of the main towns on Salina, one of the Aeolian Islands, in the Metropolitan City of Messina, Sicily, southern Italy. It is located about 140 kilometres (87 mi) northeast of Palermo and about 70 kilometres (43 mi) northwest of Messina.
Leni lies on the slope of the hill on the south of the island, 200 metres (660 ft) above the sea, between the volcanoes of Monte Fossa and Monte dei Porri.
Leni borders the following municipalities: Malfa, Santa Marina Salina.Lipari
Lipari (Italian pronunciation: [ˈliːpari], Sicilian: Lìpari, Latin: Lipara, Ancient Greek: Μελιγουνίς Meligounis or Λιπάρα Lipara) is the largest of the Aeolian Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the northern coast of Sicily, southern Italy; it is also the name of the island's main town and comune, which is administratively part of the Metropolitan City of Messina. Its population is 12,734, but during the May to September tourist season, the total population may reach up to 20,000.Malfa
Malfa is a comune (municipality) on the island of Salina, one of the Aeolian Islands, in the Metropolitan City of Messina, Sicily, southern Italy. It is located about 140 kilometres (87 mi) northeast of Palermo and about 80 kilometres (50 mi) northwest of Messina.Malfa derived its name from Amalfi. In the 12th century some families established their lives in Malfa on the island of Salina.
The island of Salina is one of seven Eolian islands. Salina is the greenest of the seven. The main economic activities are agriculture, tourism and fishing. Cultivated products are grapes, capers, olives, figs and pricklypears.
Malfa is famous for producing and exporting the sweet white wine, Malvasia. The fertile soil produces tons of capers for export.
Malfa celebrates the festival of San Lorenzo (Patron Saint of Malfa) on 10 August each year, with a street parade, music and fireworks.
During the 20th century, many Malfitani migrated to Australia and to a lesser number to the United States. The Italian and Australian flags can be seen waving in the wind at the Malfa Municipal Office.Panarea
Panarea (Italian pronunciation: [panaˈrɛːa]; Ancient Greek: Εὐώνυμος Euōnymos) is the second smallest (after Basiluzzo) of the eight Aeolian Islands, a volcanic island chain north of Sicily, southern Italy. It is a frazione of the comune of Lipari. There are currently about 280 residents living on the island year-round; however the population increases dramatically in summer with the influx of tourists. In recent years, the island has become known internationally for its celebrity visitors.Punta Lingua Lighthouse
Punta Lingua Lighthouse (Italian: Faro di Punta Lingua) is an active lighthouse located on the south eastern tip of the island of Salina, which makes part of the Aeolian Islands, in the municipality of Santa Marina Salina on the Tyrrhenian Sea.Salina, Sicily
Salina (Italian pronunciation: [saˈliːna]) is one of the Aeolian Islands north of Sicily, southern Italy. It is the second largest island in the archipelago.
Salina is divided between three comuni: Santa Marina on the eastern coast, Malfa to the north, and Leni to the south-west. From Leni down towards the sea is the village of Rinella. Above the village of Leni is Valdichiesa in the center of the island. The other smaller villages are Capo Faro, Pollara and Lingua.
There are currently approximately 4,000 residents living on the island.Santa Marina Salina
Santa Marina Salina is a comune (municipality) and one of the main towns on Salina, one of the Aeolian Islands. It is situated in the Metropolitan City of Messina in the Italian region Sicily, located about 140 kilometres (87 mi) northeast of Palermo and about 70 kilometres (43 mi) northwest of Messina.
Santa Marina Salina borders the following municipalities: Leni, Malfa.Stromboli
Stromboli (Italian pronunciation: [ˈstromboli]; Sicilian: Struògnuli, Ancient Greek: Στρογγύλη, Strongúlē) is a small island in the Tyrrhenian Sea, off the north coast of Sicily, containing one of the three active volcanoes in Italy. It is one of the eight Aeolian Islands, a volcanic arc north of Sicily. This name is derived from the Ancient Greek name Strongúlē, which was derived from στρογγύλος (strongúlos, "round"), after the volcano's round, conical appearance when seen from a distance. The island's population is about 500. The volcano has erupted many times and is constantly active with minor eruptions, often visible from many points on the island and from the surrounding sea, giving rise to the island's nickname "Lighthouse of the Mediterranean".Stromboli's most recent major eruption was on April 13, 2009. Stromboli stands 926 m (3,038 ft) above sea level,
and over 2,700 m (8,860 ft) on average above the sea floor. There are three active craters at the peak. A significant geological feature of the volcano is the Sciara del Fuoco ("stream of fire"), a big horseshoe-shaped depression generated in the last 13,000 years by several collapses on the northwestern side of the cone. Approximately 2 km (1.2 mi) to the northeast lies Strombolicchio, the volcanic plug remnant of the original volcano.Strombolicchio
Strombolicchio is a sea stack of volcanic origin 2 km (1.2 mi) to the northeast of the island of Stromboli in the Aeolian Islands of Italy.
Its name in the Sicilian language means Little Stromboli.
The island is a tourist attraction in Stromboli.Strombolicchio Lighthouse
Strombolicchio Lighthouse (Italian: Faro di Strombolicchio) is an active lighthouse placed on the summit of a sea stack at 1 nautical mile (1.9 km; 1.2 mi) to the north-east of Stromboli in the Aeolian Islands.Volcano (1950 film)
Volcano (Italian title Vulcano) is a 1950 Italian drama film directed by William Dieterle and starring Anna Magnani, Rossano Brazzi, and Geraldine Brooks. "Vulcano" was filmed on location on Salina Island, in the Aeolian Islands, and in the city of Messina on Sicily.
Vulcano has been seen by some as a vehicle of revenge by Anna Magnani against her estranged lover at the time, the Italian film director Roberto Rossellini who had chosen Ingrid Bergman to star in his film series about marriage - instead of her. Rossellini made his film Stromboli
on the nearby volcanic island of Stromboli at the same time as Volcano was being made on Salina.
Both films were shot in similar locales in the Aeolian Islands only 40 kilometres apart; both actresses played independent-minded roles in a neorealist fashion; and both films were shot simultaneously. Life magazine wrote, "... in an atmosphere crackling with rivalry... Reporters were accredited, like war correspondents, to one or the other of the embattled camps.... Partisanship infected the Via Veneto (boulevard in Rome), where Magnaniacs and Bergmaniacs clashed frequently." However, Magnani still considered Rossellini the "greatest director she ever acted for".Vulcano
Vulcano (Sicilian: Vurcanu) or "Vulcan" is a small volcanic island in the Tyrrhenian Sea, about 25 km (16 mi) north of Sicily and located at the southernmost end of the eight Aeolian Islands. The island is 21 km2 (8 sq mi) in area, rises to 501 m (1,644 ft) above sea level, and it contains several volcanic caldera, including one of the four active volcanoes in Italy that are not submarine.
The word "volcano", and its equivalent in several European languages, derives from the name of this island, which in turn derives from Vulcan, the Roman god of fire.
Islands of Italy in the Mediterranean
|Islets and skerries|