While visiting Salina, the green heart of the Aeolian Islands, it is possible to combine the experience of the sea and the mountain. This great opportunity is available throughout the island. From all three towns of Leni, Malfa and Santa Marina, during the summer it is possible to join boat trips that offer the chance to explore the entire perimeter of the island as well as the other six “sister islands.” There are also diving centres for the exploration of the fascinating depths of the Aeolian sea. Due to the volcanic origin of the islands, divers have access to a changing scenery and diverse geology along the rugged coastline. Rich in flora, fauna and archeological finds, the sea around Salina is particularly attractive as the crystal clear water makes each dive an enchanting experience.
But Salina, as mentioned, has also mountains worth exploring; Monte Fossa delle Felci (962 m.) is the highest mountain in the archipelago and one of the highest volcanoes – now extinct – of Sicily, with lush vegetation different from the classical Mediterranean bush. Chestnut, pine, and many other native plants such as ‘lentisco’, make the island an ideal place out of season. Throughout the island there are different paths to climb to the top and once at the top, you can admire all the other islands. Salina is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites for its volcanoes; enthusiasts can explore six different volcanoes: Monte Fossa delle Felci and Monte Porri (the two highest peaks) which seen from afar gave the island its ancient name ‘Didyme’ (the Twins); Monte Rivi and Pizzo Capo, Pizzo Corvo (probably the oldest of all) and Pollara. The latter is a relatively young volcano, half sunk into the water and once a volcanic lake, as shown by some fossils.
The small village of Pollara was built inside this large natural amphitheatre. Pollara is famous as the location of the film “Il Postino”, with Neapolitan actor, director and set designer Massimo Troisi. Salina was also the set for other important films, such as “Dear Diary” by Nanni Moretti and “Volcano”, with actress Anna Magnani to whom a square in the village of Rinella is dedicated. Rinella was also home to the “Panaria Film”, known for its many submarine documentaries.
All these elements can be admired by visitors through tailored tours organised by local experts. Walking tours can be arranged to visit the many producers that still keep alive the typical Aeolian values and tastes, some of which (wine, capers, Malvasia, dried tomatoes, sauces etc.) are now recognised by the Slow Food movement.
Salina hosts a number of thematic museums: the Museum of Aeolian Emigration in Malfa, next to the large municipal library, rich in audiovisual material; the Wine Museum in Santa Marina, town hosting also the archaeological site of Portella; the Ethno-Anthropological Museum and the Archaeological Museum of Lingua (suburb of Santa Marina where there is a lake where in ancient times salt was extracted and today is destination for many migratory birds). All these places allow to trace the origin of the complex and multifaceted island of Salina.