Archipelago of the Aeolian Islands
How to reach the Aeolian islands? In summer, ferries and hydrofoils leave regularly for the islands from Milazzo and Messina . In Milazzo the ticket offices can be found along Via de Mille at the port , while in Messina the office is in the middle of Via Vittorio Emanuele II .
Hydrofoils and ferries guarantee regular connections between the islands , which however are suspended in case of rough seas. In Lipari city almost all hydrofoils and ferries leave from Marina Lunga (also known as Porto Sottomonastero).
History of the Aeolian Islands
The Aeolian Islands have two types of history behind them: mythology and reality.
Many of the toponyms concerning the islands are due to mythology. The archipelago takes its name from Aeolus , the god of the winds, who gave Ulysses a wineskin containing all the winds except one, the one that was to bring him back to Ithaca. Lipari, the capital island, takes its name from Liparo , the first mythical king of the island. The son of Jupiter, Vulcan, god of fire and metallurgy, had his forge in Vulcan , and gave the island not only its name but also its rather fiery temperament.
The first Greek colonizers arrived from Segesta and Selinunte in 580 BC and gave life to an efficient economic system based on agriculture, trade and piracy, which brought a lot of wealth to the islands. The Greeks also used the Aeolian Islands as ports on the trade route between the Aegean and the Tyrrhenian and built their acropolis on the promontory, where Neolithic and classical remains are still visible.
During the First Punic War (269 BC) the Carthaginians established their headquarters in the archipelago for operations in the lower Tyrrhenian Sea. In 251 BC Lipari, together with the whole archipelago, was conquered by the Romans who impoverished the island.
In the period between the Roman domination and the Arab sackings, the islands suffered a violent demographic decline and the countless looting by the Arabs destroyed the houses. The islands remained deserted for more than two centuries until in 1083 a group of monks settled on the Acropolis, who, announcing the appearance of the relics of San Bartolomeo , managed to repopulate the islands under the protection of the saint.
In the nineteenth the poor living conditions, following the destruction of the places by the pirate Barbarossa , led to a strong emigration to Australia. The Aeolian Islands will have a rather sad face until the 1950s, when their beauty was noticed by the tourist industry, creator of today's image of the islands counted among the most beautiful areas of the peninsula.
Flora and fauna
The vegetation is largely made up, in addition to the omnipresent prickly pear and agaves, by the shrubs of the Mediterranean scrub (broom, strawberry trees, oleanders, myrtles, euphorbias, artemisias, cysts, and heather) and a luxuriance of species annuals, while the arboreal vegetation is limited to the scarce remains of abandoned crops (olive trees, carob trees, figs and almond trees) and a few woods of pine, chestnut oaks in Salina . The crops still practiced are only the vine for the production of Malvasia and the capers.
Many migratory birds stop on the archipelago in spring and autumn, seasons in which it is possible to spot purple and gray herons, flamingos, cranes, pelicans, cormorants and other species in addition to the sedentary ones such as the herring gull, the imperial crow and various birds of prey including queen hawks, kestrels, buzzards and many more.