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7/26/2012

AEOLIAN ISANDS. LIGHT, CLEAR SEA AND ANCIENT VOLCANOES

Alicudi, Filicudi, Stromboli, Vulcano, Lipari, Panarea, Salina.
It’s located in the sea the crossroads between Heaven and Hell. 








Seven beautiful volcanic islands in the middle of the Mediterranean sea, in Sicily.




According to the ancient Greeks this archipelago owes its name to Aeolus, god of the winds, who settled in Stromboli with its 12 children , in a magnificent palace. It is said that the god usually help anglers, thanks to its ability to predict the  weather.









 He earned great respect among the inhabitants 
of the archipelago that bears his name. 





 
The Greek god Hephaestus, however, lived in the island 
of Vulcano, where he spent time molding sacred weapons, 
in his blacksmith's forge.










But the stories told about this ancient archipelago are many.
It is worthwhile to explore them all 
 to discover the scenery 
of fanciful tales.














 
Volcanoes, for example, had a very specific function: 
it’s said that the murderers were thrown in, 
so they were shipped directly to Hell.









Famous is the legend of St. Gregory the Great.
He one day the saint met a hermit, 
who admitted that he had seen, the same day as the death 
of Theodoric, the soul of the king thrown in a volcano 
by Pope John and Symmachus, two people he had killed.






 In the area of Vulcanello,  we see evidence of numerous 
and abundant eruptions of the past. 
This is named the Monsters’ Valley: 
here, the volcanic rocks, 
sculptured by time and weather 
have taken bizarre and frightening shapes.




 






Many are also the caves here.
One of the most famouses is the Cave of the Kiss.






According to tradition, lovers kissing inside here, 
protected in the twilight of impressive rock walls, 
will have the good fortune 
to count on an everlasting love.






Near Horse Cave, we find the Venus Pool: the place where 
the goddess plunged to regain her virginity. 
Beyond the myth, this cave recalls the Greek goddess of love 
for the beauty and clearness of its waters.









In these islands, even the rocks tell fantastic stories: 
the case of the Roccia dell'Ariana where, it’s said, 
it was defeated El Larian pirate directly by the Ariana
a mysterious invisible presence who protects the Salina island.
















Among the mystical figures we find San Calogero.
The saint came here to drive out the demons that infested Lipari and to give relief to the sick and suffering people. 





 
He brought forth a miraculous fountain, which had the power to cure all ills. It’s said that some Roman soldiers, wounded and dying now, after being immersed in the hot springs recovered completely.











According to the official history, 
the Terme di S. Calogero were known and used since the earliest inhabitants of the island and 
had a great reputation with the Romans.











Near the old spa building there is a kind of sauna cave 
(grotta sudatoria), to witness the use of the hot waters 
by the anciet Romans. But these hot sources 
were populars at an even more ancient time. 
In fact, during the restoration of the plant, 
here has been discovered the oldest world's spa.






Some other stories talk about the presence of local witches.
It tells of women whose, in ancient times, during some nights used to sprinkle on the body a magic balm that allowed them to fly towards the coast.







There they  "borrowed" the fishing boats to surf, 
nobody knows where, until a few minutes before sunrise. 
Only then the women came back the boats 
bringing them in port. 
People say that some of them caused storms, sowed discord, created powerful bonds and magic potions.









Some of them, a little 'sorceress Circe and a little' nymph Calypso, still live here.
Well just look around, walking through 
the alleys of the villages or by the sea, 
when the moon is full.





The Aeolian witches, 
descendants of ancient local families 
still live in these mythical islands, 
at the crossroads of legend  and reality. 
Between Hell of volcanic activity 
and Paradise of clear blue sea. 







CAPONATA EOLIANA
 Aeolian Caponata

Ingredients
serves 4:
4-5 aubergines
4 tomatoes
3 onions
100g of green olives in brine
50g of capers
2 stalks of celery
1 glass of wine vinegar
3 tablespoons of sugar
oil and salt





Peel the eggplants, cut them into cubes and leave all for at least an hour under water and salt.
In a saucepan, with a little 'oil, fry the finely chopped onion and then add the tomatoes (previously peeled and seeded) the capers, olives (pitted and chopped) the celery (previously blanched in water and made into small pieces).
Mix all ingredients and cook over low heat.
In a pan fry the squeezed and well drained eggplants.
Add the fried aubergines to the mixture, wetting the caponata with a cup of vinegar, in which you have already dissolved  the sugar.
Let evaporate for a few minutes and serve the caponata cold.












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