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Vulcano – the southernmost of the Aeolian Islands – extends over 21 square kilometers and is dotted with fumaroles, sulfuric mudpots and gushing steam: manifestation of the volcanic activity of the area and, of course, clue to the presence of amazing thermal springs (which also happen to be absolutely affordable).
Writer Dacia Maraini set an auto-biographical short story on Volcano in the 1950s: “and the island was inhabited mostly by locals, shepherds and fishermen with stern faces burnt by the sun, patched-up clothes, always busy doing something – mending nets, dying boats, tending to the few vines that grew in that scorching heat, or preparing the agave that yielded rope to make straw chairs”.
“We knew the volcano was still alive when we swam into a certain rocky bight, where currents of warm liquid arose from the gray sand, pleasantly mixing with the salty water. It was like bathing in a warm lake that radiated a strong smell of sulfur” (translated from D. Maraini, “La ragazza di via Maqueda”, Rizzoli, Milan 2010).
The local people have certainly changed since the story’s description. But the underground activity of the island and its magnificent thermal springs are still the same.
©Allison Richards, ©Maria Adelaide Mondini, ©Monica Mongelli, ©Sergio Dini