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The island of Vulcano is the first one you see as you arrive to the Aeolian Islands by hydrofoil, from Milazzo. A flat land, semi barren too, full of that typical smell of “rotten eggs” which comes from sulfur on an active volcano. Because this is an active volcano, though seems to have been dormant for centuries.

All mountains in the world now called “volcano” are named after this small island of the Tyrrhenian Sea. This was the first one, in fact, to show humans – Greeks, Romans and those who came before them – the phenomena typical of volcanoes. This is the “gate to Aeolian Islands” and a perfect tourist place. Here you enjoy beauty, sea, relax and thermal baths.

Vulcano in history

In ancient times, long before the Greeks started to bring civilization in the Mediterranean area, Vulcano already was a cemetery island. People who used to live on the archipelago back then brought here their deads. There are traces of old pagan rites but no bones or other human remains: this is because they burned the corpses inside the crater. To the Greeks this was “Hephaestus’ Forge”, to the Romans it was the “gate to Hell”.

Then, Vulcano was used as a prison island, a place for forced works or for exile. Finally it was the cave where to find the precious material that lit lanterns and matches: sulfur. The yellow rocks, here, remind us that sulfur is everywhere. So does also the intense smell that will stick on you and won’t leave your skin for hours!

What to see on Vulcano

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stunning blue sea at Vulcano

Vulcano consists of many craters. Vulcanello is the lowest one. Once it was an islet, today it is linked to the main island by a rocky strip. It is one of the two still active craters, the other is the much higher Monte Fossa. Then there are Monte Ara, Monte Saraceno, Monte Forgia Vecchia that are extinct.

Panoramic views from Monte Ara (500 mt a.s.l.) and from Monte Fossa (386 mt) are stunning. They are worth the hard hiking to get up there. The craters are not that high but they are very steep. The village is delightful, gathered around a small square dominated by the lava statue of Aeolus, the god of the winds. Do not miss the “skyscraper”, a two-storey lovely house with great ambitions!

The beaches are beautiful, especially the Sabbie Nere one. Here, the very shallow seabed constantly transmits the heat of the black sand to the water, and allows you to go offshore for several meters simply by walking! Finally, the sulfur pools are to be admired and possibly used.

The sulfur pools

The thermal baths of Vulcano are in the open air and are open to everyone. You can access them for free, they are in fact a “free spa” and you will only pay for the catering, transport, souvenirs and hotel services that you may use. Anyone can immerse themselves in the sulfur mud pools and thus restore the body. Vulcano muds are excellent against rheumatism and skin problems.


Useful information

Vulcano can be reached with the hydrofoil races departing from Milazzo and Messina. The most convenient airports for those arriving from afar are Palermo or Catania. Milazzo can be reached, respectively, via the direct A20 motorway, from Palermo, and the A18 motorway Catania-Messina then merging onto the A20. (all photos by Grazia Musumeci)


Autore: Grazia Musumeci

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