The ancient name of Salina, Didyme ("twin"), refers to the two volcanic cones that give the island of the Aeolian archipelago its characteristic shape. Both volcanoes, Monte dei Porri and Monte Fossa delle Felci , have been extinct for some time, but their past eruptions, combined with the abundance of water, have given Salina the most fertile soil in the entire archipelago.
The main port of embarkation for the island of Salina is that of Milazzo, from which numerous ships and hydrofoils leave for the archipelago.
In summer, tourist information kiosks are open in Rinella, Malfa and Santa Marina Salina; during the rest of the year, tourist information can be found at the Lipari tourist office.
The slopes of the mountains are green, on the island grow over 400 species of plants, some of which are endemic, such as the variety of senecio and Limonium, and the arboreal mantle of Salina, where pine trees abound, contrasts strongly with the bare cliffs of the islands neighbors. There are also exotic violet flowers of the capers and numerous vineyards from which Malvasia wine is obtained, two very widespread crops whose products are on sale all over the island at homes or farmhouses. These two Aeolian specialties are produced throughout the archipelago but, while the cultivation of capers is still flourishing everywhere, the production of malvasia langue, victim of the general abandonment of the countryside, so much so that very often the wine offered in the other islands comes from Saline or it is imported from Sicily.
What to see on the island of Salina
Santa Marina Salina
Main port and center of the island, the town is crossed by the main street Via Risorgimento, lined with beautiful Aeolian things, square and colorful buildings with round windows, a designer shop, some cafes and some food shops. Santa Marina is a great starting point from which to explore the rest of the island.
Madonna del Terzito and Monte Fossa delle Felci
Monte Fossa delle Felci offers the possibility of hiking and visiting the nature reserve . The Sanctuary of the Madonna del Terzito is located in Valdichiesa, in the valley that separates the two volcanoes. The sanctuary is a destination for pilgrimages, especially during the period of the Feast of the Assumption on August 15th. From the church you can follow a path that climbs to the top of the volcano. Along the way you can admire a very varied and colorful flora, including wild asparagus violets and a plant known locally as cipudazza (Urginea marittima) that was once sold to the Calabrians who obtained a soap that they used as poison for mice. Once you reach the top you can admire a panorama that leaves you breathless over the entire Aeolian archipelago.
Just 3 km from Santa Marina Salina and reachable on foot or by bus along the main road, Lingua is a romantic seaside village with some hotels, trattorias and a small beach. The seafront, via Manzoni leads to the town, the houses are painted in white and sky blue, a typical Aeolian color, with tomatoes and herbs hanging outside to dry. Salina takes its name from the tiny brackish water lake near the lighthouse and the beach, very impressive at dusk.
A path starts from Lingua which climbs up Monte Fossa delle Felci . The lands are mainly cultivated with wheat and barley, as soon as the climb begins you can see olive groves that later give way to the vineyards.
Completely different from Santa Marina, Lingua and Rinella, it is built on the coast that slopes towards the sea and has a quiet and reserved atmosphere. The main road winds its way down to the built-up area through narrow streets that are home to magnificent hotels . It is the largest town on the island and has a small pebble beach decorated with small ruined fishermen's houses. The Aeolian Emigration Museum allows us to understand the proportions and effects of the Aeolian emigration.
Pollara and Rinella
Almost all the scenes of the film Il Postino were shot on the beach of Pollara . The descent is challenging but the beach has a volcanic cliff as a backdrop. The road to Rinella winding down to the small port, next to it there is a small black sand beach. Rinella is very characteristic with its salmon pink, pearl white and sea blue houses, and is also a well-known center for underwater fishing.