Volcano is the closest island to Milazzo, from where you can catch ferries towards the Aeolian Islands. According to mythology, the god of fire Vulcan had his forge here.
Volcano was called Thermessa, Therasia and Hiera, the holy forge of Hephaestus, where the Cyclopes forged the thunderbolts for Zeus. The Romans gave the final name to the island.
Uninhabited until the eighteenth century, at the beginning of 1800 the Bourbon general Nunziante began the exploitation of the sulphur mines of Volcano. Prisoners of Lipari were condemned to work in the mines, and during this age the first houses and streets were built. After the fall of the Bourbons in 1860, a Scottish businessman named James Stevenson bought the northern part of the island in 1870, devoting himself to cultivate vineyards. All his work was destroyed in 1888 due to the eruption of the volcano, which lasted two years. Stevenson left the island and only a few families continued to live onto it. Just tourism has returned to Vulcan life and movement.
The pungent smell of sulphur is solemn host of people visiting Volcano. Its volcanic activity is constant, but the control on it allows you to take advantage of bubbling mud and geysers of steam.
Hike to Volcano
You will enter the island through Porto Levante, under the Great Crater or Fossa di Vulcano, 386 meters high. The climb to the crater is not really difficult, and you can reach the top in just an hour (for those unaccustomed to exercise a little more). From that you can enjoy the fantastic view on the archipelago. You would be better to avoid the middle hours of the day because the sun is very hot and the climb, though short, is quite steep.
Yellow crystals of sulphur and obsidian fragments are spread along the walls of the volcano, which emits steam from its steaming vents. Warning: you must comply with the warnings on the danger of toxic fumes of sulphur from the crater. It is worth not play with fire and the fury of the god Volcano.
In addition to the warm water beaches (still in winter) because of the fumaroles, another thing that you must not miss is the mud baths on the east side, near the port, where tourists covered themselves with mud up to their neck while taking the sun. The experience is really worth, but you must consider that, even after the shower, the smell of sulphur is not lost in a few days and soak bathing suits, towels and clothes. The therapeutic qualities seem established, and also coveringbodies with mud – while the waters around tickling you with bubbles – is a curious and pleasant sensation.
Other stuff to see in Volcano
In the southern part of the island you can find Gelso, a little village characterized by a quiet beach, the Asino beach, which can be reached via a scenic route. In order to move into the island you can rent bikes, scooters, boats, canoes, motor scooters, bicycles and even minibuses, or you can also take a walk of several hours.
In the western Gulf the black sand beach is one of the most beautiful beaches of Volcano, although always crowded in summer. At its extreme part there is the peninsula of Vulcanello, originated in 183 b.C. after an underwater eruption.It is a succession of waves of lava that have produced over time curious and bizarre rock forms, that you can view from the sea, to which the Aeolian named Valle dei Mostri(Valley of Monsters).