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Black Tie International  Travel  1  
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Black Tie International Magazine - Travel-The Aeolian Islands

 

Paradise On Earth: The Aeolian Islands Are Not To Be Missed!
by Jesse Nash
Photos courtesy of Fototeca ENIT

 The Aeolian Islands   

 

The Aeolian Islands 2The Aeolian Islands 3  

The Aeolian Islands 4The Aeolian Islands 5

 
 

 

There is a little piece of paradise than many travellers may not be aware of. The Aeolian Islands (Italian Isole Eolie) are a just such a place, a volcanic archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea north of Sicily. It is Shangri-La you need to experience. Many in Europe and Italy already know about this wonderful place. It's time for you to make your next dream vacation and the Aeolian Islands couldn't be a better choice.

The largest island is Lipari, and tourism marketing often names the entire archipelago the Lipari Islands because of the ease of pronouncing Lipari compared to Aeolian. The other islands include Vulcano, Salina, Stromboli, Filicudi, Alicudi, Panarea and Basiluzzo. The town of Lipari has about 11,000 inhabitants. Vulcano is famous for its fango (mud) baths.

The Cnidian settlers under Pentathlos arrived at Lipara in 580 BC and settled on the site of the modern village known as Castello or la Cittade. They named the islands after the Greek keeper of the winds, Aeolus, whose benevolence was essential. Outside Lipara, on the road to the necropolis, a sanctuary to Demeter and Persephone has been discovered. In 394 BC the Roman embassy consisting of Lucius Valerius, Lucius Sergius, and Aulus Manlius took a golden bowl that was made as a gift to Apollo, to Delphi. The diplomats were captured by Liparian pirates, but instead of being harmed the diplomats and their offering were protected by the magistrate Timasitheus and escorted safely to Delphi, this made for peaceful relations between the two states.

Lots of History

The islands were the site of the Battle of the Lipari Islands in 260 BC between Rome and Carthage. Biblical historian Josephus mentioned a group that is probably related to the Aeolian islands: "Elisa gave name to the Eliseans, who were his subjects; they are now the Aeolians." Elisa refers to the biblical figure Elishah, grandson of Japheth, son of Javan.

In 1544, when Spain declared war on France, the French king Francis I asked the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman for help. The latter sent a fleet headed by Khair ad Din (also known as Barbarossa) who was victorious over the Spaniards, and managed to retake Naples from them. In the course of the battle the Aeolian Islands were depopulated. Later immigrants from mainland Italy, Sicily and Spain re-established communities on the archipelago.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

The Aeolian Islands are listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. However inaccuracy, the missing closure of a pumice quarry, and the oncoming building of some four harbours by the shore of the sole town of Lipari pose a threat to the islands' place on the list, according to the Italian UNESCO Commission.

Plenty Of Food & Wine

All sorts of fish delicacies can be found on the local menus. Special attention must be given to the swordfish, a typical fish of these waters, which is caught according to a very ancient and extremely picturesque "rite". Other specialities are : "maccaruni", aubergine rolls, sweet and sour rabbit, smoked ricotta cheese and the aromatic capers (their flowers are called the 'orchids of the Aeolian Islands") There is also a selection of excellent, strong and spiced local wines.

 

 
 
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