The Aeolian Islands (Italian: Isole Eolie, Sicilian: Ìsuli Eoli) are a volcanic archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea north of Sicily. The locals residing on the islands are known as Eolian. They are a popular tourist destination in the summer, and attract up to 200,000 visitors annually.
The present shape of the Aeolian Islands is the result of volcanic activity over a period of 260,000 years. There are two active volcanoes - Stromboli and Vulcano. The volcanic activity of steaming fumaroles and thermal waters waiting to be tapped are on most of the islands.
Curbing urban development has been a key to preserving the Aeolian islands in a natural state. New buildings are severely restricted. Existing residences can be bought and restoredbut must comply to resemble its whitewashed houses. Traditional houses consist of modular cubes constructed from indigenous building materials — stone, lava, pumice and tufo. Almost all houses have a large outdoor terrace, usually shaded by grape-vines and flowering vines. The houses, balconies and terraces are mostly decorated with brightly patterned terra-cotta tiles, a throwback to long-ago Spanish conquerors.
The climate is Mediterranean. Average annual rainfall varies from 600-700 millimeters (mm) and average annual temperature varies between 14-18° Celsius (C).
Without exception, Aeolian hotels are family affairs with home cooking and friendly service. Smouldering volcanoes, bubbling mud baths and steaming fumaroles make these tiny seven islands, north of Sicily, a truly magical destination. The Aeolian Islands with a total population of approximately 10,000, have very different characters depending on the season. The head count swells to 200,000 during the summer months. Thousands of holidaymakers visit the Aeolian Islands each year seeking a road-free idyll and a close-up view of volcanic fireworks.