Aeolian Islands

Aeolian Islands

Infobox World Heritage Site
WHS = Isole Eolie (Aeolian Islands)

State Party = ITA
Type = Natural
Criteria = viii
ID = 908
Region = Europe and North America
Year = 2000
Session = 24th
Link =
The Aeolian Islands (Italian "Isole Eolie") are a volcanic archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea north of Sicily. They are a popular tourist destination in the summer, and attract up to 200,000 visitors annually.

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 [ Accessed 04/05/07 ] . 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, although 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 [ [ YouTube - Mega porto: lo scempio di Lipari ] ] pose a threat to the islands' place on the list, according to the Italian UNESCO Commission. [ [ - Le Eolie fuori dai siti Unesco ] ]


External links

* [ UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Aeolian Islands]
* [ Richard Stillwell, ed. "Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites", 1976:] "Aeoliae Insulae (Lipari Islands), Messina, Sicily"
* [ Aeolian Islands photos]
* [ Website for Finding Nino, a travelogue about living and working on the Aeolian Islands

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