Cradle of magic, fantasy and history, the Aeolian Islands hold in their name the appeal of mythology. They are the islands of Aeolus, god of the winds. The Aeolian archipelago consists of seven islands in the shape of a lying Y, located off the coast of northern Sicily, facing the Tyrrhenian coast of Messina. Among these, Vulcano is the nearest island to the Sicilian coast. Known in ancient times as Therasia, the island sacred to the god Vulcan, it is recognized in the Greek mythological tradition as the site of the Forges of Hephaestus, god of fire, technology and metallurgy. It is impossible not to mention also the Latin derivation and the mythological meaning given by the Romans to the god Hephaestus: in fact, the Roman mythological tradition identifies him with the god Vulcan, from whom the current name of the island is derived. It is said that the god Vulcan forged weapons for the gods with the help of the Cyclops. From what is documented in the classical literature, the island is the result of the merger of some volcanoes, four to be exact: the so-called Vulcano della Fossa is the biggest and also the most active one, at irregular intervals, and is flanked by Vulcanello, that is the smallest one. The island also offers beautiful places, between sea and mountains, which are a must visit.
WHAT TO DO (AND SEE) IN VULCANO
- Although exhausting, the climb to the crater is amazing. The path that is located along the side of the mountain offers breathtaking sceneries and beautiful views over the archipelago. As long as you go up, the smell of sulphur becomes more intense, but the climb is really suggestive thanks to the red colour of the ground, which is typical of the rock that forms the volcanic mountain. Once arrived at the top, the view is worth all the effort of the climb.
- Do not miss the peninsula of Vulcanello, where you can admire the Valle dei Mostri (Valley of Monsters). The name comes from the afternoon twilight that makes the natural shapes of rocks similar to monstrous figures.
- Vulcano combines the typical scenarios of a volcanic island with beaches that look like a tropical paradise. Asino beach is a small cove of black sand, intimate and quiet during the day, mundane at night. The island manages to combine the love of the mountains with the passion of the sea. You can reach this paradise by taxi boat or along a steep downhill walk. The beach is well equipped.
- Sabbie Nere (Black Sands) are a really famous beach at Porto di Ponente, so called for the colour of the volcanic sand. The contrast between the black sand and the crystal clear water is an amazing must see.
- Dominated by a striking lighthouse, Gelso beach is characterized by a blue, clear and transparent sea. From this piece of land, you can admire the Saracen coast and even the Etna.
- Fumarole beach is peculiar because it is bathed by waters warmed by sulphuric vapours. In many points water boils because of the presence of underwater gas sources.
- Finally, do not miss the thermal muds, which are one of the main attractions of the island. A refreshing mud springs from underground and is beneficial for skin, bone diseases and respiratory disorders.