The Aeolian Islands

are a volcanic archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea north of Sicily, named after the demigod of the winds Aeolus. The locals residing on the islands are known as Aeolians  The Aeolian Islands are a popular tourist destination in the summer, and attract up to 200,000 visitors annually.

Because the largest island is Lipari, the islands are sometimes referred to as the Lipari Islands or Lipari group. The other islands include VulcanoSalinaStromboliFilicudiAlicudiPanarea. The present shape of the Aeolian Islands is the result of volcanic activity over a period of 260,000 years. There are two active volcanoes - Stromboli and Vulcano. The volcanic activity of steaming fumaroles and thermal waters are on most of the islands.

Scientifically the archipelago is defined as a volcanic arc. The origin of the Aeolian Islands is due to movement of the Earth's crust as a result of plate tectonics. The African continental shelf is in constant movement towards Europe. The resulting collision has created a volcanic area with ruptures in the Earth's crust with consequent eruptions of magma. The "Aeolian Arc" extends for more than 140 kilometres (87 miles), but the area of geological instability caused by the collision of Africa and Europe is much larger. It includes Sicily, Calabria, and Campania together with Greece and the Aegean islands.

The complex of the eight Aeolian Islands, covering an area of 1,600 square kilometres, originated from a great plain at the bottom of the Tyrrhenian sea. Emissions of lava from depths of up to 3,600 metres resulted in the formation of the Aeolian Islands, together with Ustica and a series of submarine volcanoes named Magnani, Vavilov, Marsili and Palinuro, as well as two that are unnamed.

Lipari

is the largest of the Aeolian Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the northern coast of Sicily, and the name of the island's main town. Its population is 11,231, but during the May to September tourist season, the total population may reach up to 20,000. Lipari is the largest of a chain of islands in a volcanic archipelago situated in between Vesuvius and Etna. The island has a surface area of 37.6 square kilometres (14.5 sq mi) and is 30 kilometres (19 mi) from Sicily. Besides the main town, most of the year-round population resides in one of the four main villages: Pianoconte is almost due west across the island, Quattropani in the northwest, Acquacalda along the northern coast, whereas Canneto is on the eastern shore north of Lipari town. eologists agree on the fact that Lipari was created by a succession of four volcanic movements, the most important of which was the third one, presumably lasting from 20,000 BC to 13,000 BC. A further important phenomenon should have happened around 9000 BC. The last recorded eruptions occurred in the fifth century CE when airborne pumice, together with volcanic ash, covered the Roman villages of the island. The volcanoes are considered active, and steaming fumaroles and hydrothermal activity may still be seen. As a result of its volcanic origin, the island is covered with pumice and obsidian. Pumice mining has become a large industry on Lipari, and the pale pumice from Lipari is shipped worldwide.

Vulcano

is a small volcanic island in the Tyrrhenian Sea, about 25 km (16 mi) north of Sicily and the southernmost of the eight Aeolian Islands. It is 21 km2 (8 sq mi) in area, rises to 499 m (1,637 ft)above sea level, and contains several volcanic centers, including one of four active non-submarine volcanoes in Italy. The Romans used the island mainly for raw materials, harvesting wood and mining alum and sulfur. This was the principal activity on the island until the end of the 19th Century.

When the Bourbon rule collapsed in 1860 (see Francis II of the Two Sicilies) a British man named James Stevenson bought the northern part of the island, built a villa, reopened the local mines and planted vineyardsfor grapes that would later be used to make Malmsey wine. Stevenson lived on Vulcano until the last major eruption on the island, in 1888. The eruption lasted the better part of two years, by which time Stevenson had sold all of his property to the local populace, and never returned to the island. The villa is still intact.

Currently, around 470 people live on the island, mainly deriving their income from tourism. It is a few minutes hydrofoil ride from Lipari and has several hotels and cafes, the important attractions being the beaches, hot springs and sulfur mud baths. The Ancient Greeks named the island Therassía  and Thérmessa (source of heat). The island appeared in their myths as the private workshop of the Olympian god Hephaestus, protector of the blacksmiths; he owned another two at Etna andOlympusStrabo also mentions Thermessa as sacred place of Hephaestus , but it is not clear if it was a third name for the island, or just an adjective.

Similarly the Romans believed that Vulcano was the chimney of the god Vulcan's workshop and therefore named the island after him. The island had grown due to his periodic clearing of cinders and ashes from his forge. The earthquakes that either preceded or accompanied the explosions of ash were considered to be due to Vulcan making weapons for Mars and his armies to wage war.

Salina

is an island in the Aeolian Islands.  southern Italy. It is the second largest island in the archipelago.

Salina is divided between three comuniSanta Marina on the eastern coast, Malfa to the north, and Leni to the south-west. From Leni down towards the sea is the village of Rinella, Sicily. Above the village of Leni is Valdichiesa in the center of the island. The other smaller villages are Capo Faro, Pollara and Lingua.

There are currently approximately 4,000 residents living on the island. From a distance Salina looks entirely green with two rounded high mountains and a smooth coastline. More than 400 different types of plants grow here, including the cultivation of grapes, olives and capers.

Salina was the first among the Aeolian islands to protect its environment with a natural preserve, known as the Riserva Naturale del Fossa delle Felci e dei Porri.

The mountainsides of the island are covered with ferns, poplars, chestnut trees and typical Mediterranean vegetation covered with caper bushes, prickly pear cactus and a variety of orchards, olive groves and vineyards. Above all there is Malvasia, a famous white wine that is only produced on Salina. Malvasia is golden in colour and has an intense, delicately sweet bouquet. There has also been a local revival of the production of superior-quality low-acid olive oil. Salina has a total surface area of 27 km2 (10 sq mi). It is included on the World Heritage List especially because of its worth for vulcanology. It is composed of six volcanoes: the oldest ones are at Pizzo di Corvo, Monte Rivi and close to Capo Faro, although these are barely recognisable from a morphological point of view, while the volcano-layer of Monte Fossa delle Felci at 968 m (3,176 ft) is the highest peak in the archipelago andMonte dei Porri 886 m (2,907 ft) are both almost perfectly preserved. A lower crater lies just above sea level near the small village of Pollara,on the north west corner of the island, half of which has fallen into the sea.

Panarea

is the smallest of the eight Aeolian Islands, a volcanic island chain north of Sicily. It is a frazione of the comune of Lipari. There are currently about 280 residents living on the island year-round; however the population increases dramatically in summer with the influx of tourists. In recent years, the island has become known internationally for its celebrity visitou. The island is an inactive volcano with a total surface area of only 3.4 km2 (1.3 sq mi). The highest point on the island, Punta del Corvo, is 421 m (1,381 ft) above sea level. There are thermal springs near the village of Punta di Peppe e Maria. Scuba diving is a popular excursion on this tiny island, and you can even swim to a shipwreck between the offshore rocks of Lisca Bianca and Bottaro. Panarea and the entire Aeolian chain were declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000. Largely because of this, construction and development are strictly regulated and the community retains its storied insularity. Most residences admit only temporary occupancy, and the few year-round homes available are highly expensive and difficult to obtain

Stromboli

is a small island in the Tyrrhenian Sea, off the north coast of Sicily, containing one of the three active volcanoes in Italy. It is one of the eight Aeolian Islands, a volcanic arc north of Sicily. This name is derived from the Ancient Greek name Strongulē which was given to it because of its round swelling form. The island's population is between 400 and 850. The volcano has erupted many times and is constantly active with minor eruptions, often visible from many points on the island and from the surrounding sea, giving rise to the island's nickname "Lighthouse of the Mediterranean". The most recent major eruption was on 13 April 2009. Stromboli stands 926 m (3,034 ft) above sea level, and over 2,700 m (8,860 ft) on average above the sea floor. There are three active craters at the peak. A significant geological feature of the volcano is the Sciara del Fuoco ("Stream of fire"), a big horseshoe-shaped depression generated in the last 13,000 years by several collapses on the northwestern side of the cone. Two kilometers to the northeast lies Strombolicchio, the volcanic plug remnant of the original volcano.

Stromboli has been in almost continuous eruption for the past 2,000 years. A pattern of eruption is maintained in which explosions occur at the summit craters, with mild to moderate eruptions of incandescent volcanic bombs, at intervals ranging from minutes to hours. This Strombolian eruption, as it is known, is also observed at other volcanoes worldwide. Eruptions from the summit craters typically result in a few short, mild, but energetic bursts, ranging up to a few hundred meters in height, containing ash, incandescent lava fragments and stone blocks. Mt. Stromboli's activity is almost exclusively explosive, but lava flows do occur at times when volcanic activity is high: an effusive eruption occurred in 2002, the first in 17 years, and again in 2003, 2007, and 2013-14.

Filicudi

is one of eight islands that make up the Aeolian archipelago, situated 30–50 km (19–31 mi) northeast of the island of Sicily. It is a frazione of the comune of Lipari. Its total area is 9.5 km2 (3.7 sq mi). There are several small villages on the island, which include Pecorini Mare and Valdichiesa. Filicudi's lands are capable of producing wine,olive oil, grain, and vegetables. In 1997, three quarters, approximately 7 km2 (2.7 sq mi) of Filicudi was turned into a Natural Reserve.

The highest point is Monte Fossa Felci at 774 m (2,539 ft). Other points include Monte Montagnola at 349 m (1,145 ft) and Monte Terrione at 278 m (912 ft). At Capo Graziano are the remains of a Bronze Age village dating back to the second millennium BCE. Off the coast, the volcanic finger-like rock of La Canna rises about 74 metres (243 ft) above the sea.

The modern name of "Filicudi" is a corruption of the ancient Greek name for the island, Phoenicusa (Phoenician island). The island, like the other Aeolian Islands, was settled since the Neolithic Age, around 3000 BCE. As evidenced by archaeological findings, the island was occupied by a new people during the Bronze Age. The island was uninhabited for many centuries until occupied by the GreeksRoman and Byzantine remains can also be found on the island.

Alicudi

is the westernmost of the eight islands that make up the Aeolian archipelago, a volcanic island chain north of Sicily. The island is about 40 km (25 mi) west of Lipari, has a total area of 5.2 km2 (2.0 sq mi), and is roughly circular. The island was formed by the long-extinct Montagnola volcano, roughly 150,000 years ago. It has been suggested that the last evolutive act of the island took place only 28,000 years ago.

The island was first populated as long ago as 17th century BC, as some archaeological evidence from this period has been found. Roman ceramic fragments, dating from many centuries later, can be found on the eastern coast of the island.

The modern name of "Alicudi" is a corruption of the island's ancient Greek name of Ericusa (island of Erica), derived from the plant known as the Erica, more commonly known as heather, which still grows on the island’s slopes. For many centuries, Alicudi was the target of frequent incursions by pirates. Consequently, the island’s population was forced to find shelter in small houses constructed on high terraces and also meant that simple agriculture and cultivation of the peach were the foundations of the modest island economy. Today there are around 120 inhabitants who mostly live off fishing, or the small agriculture of the island. There is only one restaurant on the island and the menu depends greatly on what fish the local fishermen have caught, or what food supplies the hydrofoil brings.

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