Sicily's Aeolian Islands - Heaven and hell.

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The Aeolian Islands, also called Lipari Islands, are an archipelago of volcanic origin, located in the Tyrrhenian Sea, north of the Sicilian coast. They include two active volcanoes, Stromboli and Vulcano, as well as various secondary volcanism phenomena.

The archipelago is composed from the following islands: Alicudi, Filicudi, Lipari, Panarea with the basalt islets of Basiluzzo, Dattilo, Lisca Bianca and Bottaro, Salina, Stromboli (with the nearby rock of Strombolicchio), Vulcano. They are situated in the Province of Messina. The archipelago is divided between the municipalities of Leni, Malfa, Santa Marina Salina, located on the island of Salina, and Lipari, which extends over the remaining islands. Being a big turistica attraction, the islands reach up to 200,000 annual visitors. In the year 2000 the Aeolian Islands were named World Heritage Site by UNESCO for volcanic phenomena. The Aeolian Islands form an archipelago made of seven real islands, to which are added islets and rocks emerging from the sea. The 7 islands are arranged in a Y-shape horizontally, al off northern Sicily, facing the Messina Tyrrhenian coast. They are visible from most of the Tyrrhenian coast of Sicily when visibility is excellent and there is no haze. The islands are named after the god Aeolus, king of the winds. As The Greek mythology related, Aeolus settled on these islands and gave them their name, thanks to his reputation as a tamer of the winds. He lived in Lipari, and he was able to predict the weather conditions by observing the shape of the huffs puffed by an active volcano, probably the Stromboli. The Aeolian islands, all of volcanic origin, are located in the southern Tyrrhenian Sea facing the north coast of Sicily at Capo Milazzo from which are less than 12 nautical miles distance. The Vulcano Island (fraction of Lipari) is an island of 21 square kilometers belonging to the Aeolian Islands. The inhabitants, are called “vulcanari”. It is the southernmost island of the archipelago, unique for today's volcanic events with an exalting character (fumaroles). To the right side there are thermal springs, in which there is a large pool with mud and a beach whose water reaches high temperatures. Continuing towards southeast can be reached Vulcanello, a town of beautiful villas built on an extinct crater.

One of the most beautiful beaches is that called the "black sands" whose water is transparent and the sand is colored shimmering black. About 300 m from the Port of Levante is the path that climbs up from which can be admired a splendid panorama of all the islands and of the Sicilian coast. Vulcanello, the peninsula north of Vulcano that rises to 123 m on the sea, has risen from the sea like an island and then welded to Vulcano for the accumulation of debris and lava rock and Vulcanello is about a kilometer away. Lipari, with just over 37 sq km of surface, it is not only the largest of the Aeolian Islands, but it is also its beating heart. Its length maximum is 9.5 Km. It is about 42 nautical miles from the Sicilian coast. The island, mountainous and jagged, reaches the highest altitude with the Monte Chirica (602 m), followed by Mount S. Angelo (594 m). The town extends to the foot of the imposing fortress of the Castle, the only one Greek acropolis, and along the creeks, to the north and south, of Marina Corta and of Marina Lunga. The island has about 12,000 inhabitants and they are distributed in the fractions of the island: Canneto, Acquacalda, Quattropani and Pianoconte. With the exception of Salina all the other islands of the Archipelago depend administratively from Lipari. The island has been modeled by as many as twelve volcanoes. Its volcanic nature is evident in the Valle Muria, from red rocks, and in the northeastern coast, covered by a large cast of pumice. Among the economic activities is recorded the extraction of pumice, with an industrial settlement, the only one in the Aeolian Islands. The island's economy is mainly based on activity tourism and fishing. In Lipari it is possible to rent villas and apartments. It is logistically at the center of the archipelago and for those who do not knows the islands is the one from which it is easier to move and go hiking of a single day to come and go in the day from the other islands by ordinary means such as ships and line hydrofoils. It is the richest island of services and the best equipped for tourism and tourism services. 

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