The Aeolian Islands are one of 50 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Italy.
The Archipelago of the Aeolian Islands consist of seven exquisite islands off the coast of Sicily - Lipari, Panarea, Vulcano, Stromboli, Salina, Alicudi and Filicudi - in addition to smaller islets and giant boulders. They all emerge from an uncontaminated sea, created by still-active volcanoes (Stromboli and Vulcano), and blessed by a savage beauty. The Islands, the destination for tens of thousands of tourists annually, are part of the Province of Messina.
The climate of the Aeolian Islands is always temperate, typical of the central-Mediterranean zones, influenced both by its latitude and geographical position, and by the presence of the sea. During winter days the thermometer does not goes under 14°, and the summers are never torrid because mitigated by marine breeze. The medium temperatures vary from 14°C during the winter period (December/ January), to 20° C of the spring season (April-May), to 27°C during the summer season (July), and to 21°C of the autumn season (October).
The medium annual temperature varies from 21° and 16°C. Annual thermic ranges, being the lowest in Italy, are moderated thanks to the sea’s action which holds summer hot temperatures, in order to emit them during winter period. Precipitations are not plentiful, and are well-shared out in about 50-90 days a year of rain, with a maximum climax during winter season. The month with a minor number of rainy days is July (0,6), while January (11,2) and December (11,1) represent the most rainy months, followed by November (9,1). Snow precipitations are really rare. Lacking atmospheric precipitations and water springs, drinkable water is provided by ships coming from near coasts of Sicily, or obtained from rain water, gathered in specific tanks.
Predominant winds in the annual media are the northwest wind and the sirocco, or the south-east. The sky is clear for 70% of summer days, in winter for 25%, in spring for 35%, and in autumn for 50%. Annual medium humidity is of 71%, with minimal values in August (69%), and maximum in May (73%). The most suitable period to visit the Aeolian Islands is very long: it goes from the half of April till the end of October, even if here the tourism quite never stops, especially on the greatest islands. It is possible to swim even in May or in October, when water temperature about 20°C.
Lipari. It is the largest island in the chain.
Here the Archaeological Museum is one of the must-see places – it is tucked inside Lipari Castle, which stands out on the island’s eastern bay in between its best docks, Marina Lunga and Marina Corta. There is also a marvelous Greek acropolis and a Norman cathedral. And one of the most exciting activities is to circle the island’s coasts by boat, admiring its splendid inlets (Fico is particularly pretty) and the beaches of Vinci, Valle Muria, Punta della Castagna and Capo Rosso.
Panarea. It is the smallest and lowest of the Aeolians (421 m/1,381 ft at its highest, at Timpone del Corvo), but it is also the oldest and attracts boatloads of tourists for its clean water, underwater volcanic vents and its nightlife.
Together with the tiny islands of Basiluzzo, Spinazzola, Lisca Bianca, Dattilo, Bottaro, Lisca Nera (of which little still remains) and the boulders of Panarelli and Formiche, Panarea forms its own minuscule archipelago. The touristic port is at the San Pietro crossroads, where visitors can take in characteristic homes, bottegas and shops.
Vulcano. According to Greek mythology, Vulcano was the location of the blacksmiths of Hephaestus, the god of fire, metal work and the fine arts.
It is possible to observe numerous volcanic phenomenons here, from smoke clouds, vapor spouts (at both the volcano’s mouth and under the sea) and sulphuric mud holes known for their therapeutic properties.
Stromboli. It is actually the most active volcano in Europe, and boasts frequent, spectacular eruptions that can be best seen from the Italian Navy Observatory at Punta Labronzo.
Lucky visitors might just get to see the Sciara del Fuoco, the lava flow that runs down into the sea.
Other places to visit include San Vincenzo, the medieval borgo surrounded by very particular white house-boats; the isolated fishing village of Ginostra that clings to Stromboli’s rocky side, accessible only via animal trails; and the Strombolicchio, a giant boulder – of course, born from an eruption – which is topped by a large lighthouse.
Salina. It is the second-largest island, and has the highest reliefs on the archipelago.
It is also the home of a beautiful wooded area of ferns (la Fossa delle Felci), located on jagged cliffs above the island’s gorgeous beaches (Pollara being one of the most notable).
Don’t miss a visit to the house where the beloved “Il Postino” (starring Massimo Troisi) was filmed, and be sure to taste the renowned granita, a local crushed-ice treat.
Alicudi and Filicudi. The western-most islands in the Aeolian chain are Alicudi and Filicudi, characterized entirely by craters left by inactive Volcanoes; here, the environment is fabulously wild, with thriving marine life deep under the sea.
Remarkable on Filicudi are the enormous boulder La Canna (approximately 85 m/279 ft), the Scoglio della Fortuna and the Grotta del Bue.
The silent Alicudi (where cars are forbidden), is the island least touched by man, and where natural impressions of the Mediterranean are immediately visible.