Isole Eolie and Panarea
Voices from the past
The history of the Eolie archipelago is very ancient and dates back to the Neolithic age when it was famous for the working of obsidian. Through the centuries the islands alternated various dominations, from the Etruscan raids to the profitable Greek colonising. Later, Lipari became an alley of Cartage in the Punic wars and the archipelago was subjected to Roman occupation. When the Roman Empire fell the islands went through a period of desolation culminating with Byzantine domination and the ensuing Arab occupation. The reprise started with Norman domination later to settle with the Swabians, the Angevins and the Aragonese. In 1544, however, Lipari was destroyed by a Turkish fleet. A new moment of reprise started in the early 19th, when the islands became an obligatory stop-over for many sea travel lines. The final years were characterised by an unprecedented tourist success, especially for Panarea. The island whose name derives from Panaria, that is, "all shambled up", is physically the smallest in the archipelago but is possibly the richest of charm and the favoured destination for elite tourism.
The Eolie Islands, for their millenary story, are rich of archaeological areas where you can find remains that date from the stone age to classic antiquity. The Museo Archeologico Eoliano in Lipari is one of Italy's most important, especially as far as the Neolithic and marine archaeology are concerned. The castle area is archeologically interesting with remains dating back to the Bronze Age. The Cathedral of San Bartolomeo dates back to the 11th century. In Filicudi you can visit the prehistoric villages of the Piana del Porto and Capo Graziano dating back to the Bronze Age. One of Salina's main attractions is the famous Grotta del Saraceno; a volcanic cave with altars excavated in the stone and dwelling remains from the Roman age. Panarea is also rich with instances of town construction from all different ages. You can visit a prehistoric cluster, the Hellenistic-roman centre dating back from the 3rd century BC to the 2nd century AD and a Bronze Age village.
Despite what one might think, the Eolie Islands are rich with happenings and not just during the summer season. Food fairs and patron saint festivals are many and lure many tourists who wish to immerse themselves in the inspiring atmosphere of popular festivals. In Panarea every year they repeat the ritual of the "Quadara" for S. Giuseppe's festival. The festival of Maria SS. in Porto Salvo is Lipari's most traditional, with a boat procession in the bay. During the summer there are many cinema festivals, some particularly interesting like "Un mare di cinema" in Lipari, and "Il vento del cinema", travelling through various locations in the Eolie.