Myths and legends about volcanoes

Greek mythology placed the forge of Hephaestus in the cavern of volcanoes.
According to legend, the strange noises heard in the caverns of the island of Vulcano were made by the hammers and the crackling of the fire of the god’s forge.
In Christian times, they were instead attributed to the screams and groans of the damned in Hell. For Saint Gregory the Great the volcanoes of the Aeolian Islands were the gates to Hell, their mouths erupting the fire of torment that God makes manifest to men, to lead them to follow the path of salvation.
Numerous legends appeared around the volcanoes of the Aeolian Islands. One of the most famous is the hermit of Lipari, narrated by Saint Gregory the Great himself; on the same day of Theodoric the Great’s death in 526 AD, he allegedly saw the soul of the king of the Ostrogoths, half-naked, barefoot and with his hands tied, thrown into Vulcano’s crater by Pope John and the patrician Simmachus whom he had killed. Charles Martel, who in 741 AD had stopped the Muslim invasion in Poitiers and saved European civilisation, supposedly ended up in Stromboli’s crater.
Saint Peter Damian tells us, in the life of Saint Odilo, the abbot of the monastery of Cluny in Burgundy who lived in the first half of the 9th century, that a religious man from Aquitaine, returning from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, had to take refuge on Vulcano because of a storm and here found an old hermit. It seems that the hermit heard these groans as well as the feeble and whining moaning of the devils, who enjoyed tormenting the damned, when some of them were taken from them because of prayers and alms by worshippers. The religious man, having returned to France, reported this to Saint Odilo, who then ordered that all the convents of the Benedictine order be dedicated to the commemoration of the departed on the day after All Saints’ Day. And so All Souls’ Day was established on 2 November, and is still universally celebrated today.

Lipari at the centre of Mediterranean history

“Vulcanian” eruptions

Tsunamis: a not uncommon phenomenon in Stromboli

The 2002-03 eruption

Lipari Castle, “fused” with the lava

Panarea and its history

The Sciara del Fuoco

Seven islands, dozens of volcanoes

Stories of the sea and shipwrecks. The wrecks of the Aeolian Islands

The prehistoric village of Cala Junco

Volcanoes as a natural art form

Myths and legends about volcanoes

The senses tell The Pumice Quarries of Lipari

Stromboli, the volcano that breathes

How pumice is formed

The Thermal Baths of Saint Calogerus

Filicudi: small island, big history

Alicudi, where time has stood still

The malleability of Vulcano’s mud

Between brush strokes of sulphur and clouds of steam: the fumaroles of the port of Vulcano

Malvasia delle Lipari DOC

The senses tell The Sciara del Fuoco

Panarea, where sea and volcanoes become sculptors

Lipari, where history intertwines with volcanoes to create archaeology

Filicudi, a submerged paradise

The stacks of Panarea

The Cathedral of Lipari and the Norman Cloister of the Benedictine Monastery

The underwater fumarolic activity of Lisca Bianca

Pollara, between poetry and beauty

The senses tell The Stacks of Panarea

The hidden part of the Aeolian Islands

The senses tell The summit craters

At the heart of trade in history

The Aeolian Islands, where volcanology was born

Where do Vulcano’s gases come from?

The summit craters

The senses tell The salt lake of Lingua

The senses tell The Village of Capo Graziano

The salt lake of Lingua

The Village of Capo Graziano

The pure white of the pumice quarries

The Gran Cratere of the Fossa: when the volcano becomes a sculptor

Vulcano, the youngest of the Aeolian works of art

“Strombolian” activity in the place where its definition was born

The ancient production of salt

Salina, the green island with twin mountains

The polis of the living and the necropolis of the dead

The underwater morphological elements of the Aeolian Islands