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Stromboli: Lava and Malvasia

Etna is not the only volcano in Sicily, there is also the smaller Stromboli. They are two marvellous active volcanoes, deeply different from each other. While Etna was born about 570.000 years ago, Stromboli is much younger, being only about 160.000 years.

The height is also very different: while Etna dominates the east part of Sicily at 3.320 meters high, Stromboli is only 926 meters. Also their activity is different: Etna always has a smoke cloud coming out from the top, Stromboli instead continues to erupt. This activity is called Strombolian eruptions.

The eruptive spectacle of Stromboli

It is a permanent active volcano, its eruptions are regular and continuous. Every 10-20 minutes it throws in the air magma and gas, pushing it up to 200 meters high. This show is clearly visible from far away, so far that was once used as a lighthouse for navigators to indicate them the way. More than this explosive activity, from tonight there is also a lava flowing river that in just a few hours reached the sea along the “sciara del fuoco”. This is how the very steep side of the volcanic cone gets called.

This cone consist of lava, lapilli and volcanic scoria. Most of the lava during eruptions gets poured from the top crater at 750 meters high, along the sciara until it reaches the Tyrrhenian sea. The top terrace of Stromboli, lies over the northwest side of the island and the regular eruptions are not a threat for the population, since the sciara del fuoco is locked by two sea-cliffs. Explosive and eruptive activity creates strong earth shaking.

The Island between its 6 sisters

Stromboli island is part of the Sicilian archipelago of the Aeolian Islands, situated in the Tyrrhenian  sea at north of Messina. It is the northern island of them all, 7 in total and it has a surface of 12,2 square km, and about 400 inhabitants, but from spring to autumn the island attracts many tourists from all over the world.

The island is famous and inhabited from ancient times, thanks to its fertile volcanic soil. The economy of Stromboli island is mostly based on typical Mediterranean cultivation, such as olives, capers, figs and peaches. Special attention goes to the Malvasia grape, cultivated in gardens terrace style. The Malvasia variety originated in Greece, and was produced in the Middle Ages on  the island of Malta. During the 13th century it was imported to Italy by the Venetians , and so it has been spread all over the territory enriching its characteristics.

There are 17 different types of Malvasia vineyards in the Italian territory. It is white or black grapes. The white Malvasia of Lipari islands is very famous. In addition to the great dry and scented white wine, it can be used to produce the Malvasia liquor, or sweet white wine. This is not just a dessert wine to be served with typical Sicilian puddings, but can also be served with fresh summery dishes such as ham and melon, or with cheese honey and pears plates.

Stromboli island, just like other islands of the archipelago, can be reached by ferry from Naples, Milazzo, Messina, Reggio Calabria, Vibo Valentia and Tropea.

There are also other beautiful destinations to reach from Stromboli, like Panarea island that is definitely more lively, or the small near by town of Ginostra, or the small island of Strombolicchio, an inactive volcanic cone 1,5 km far from Stromboli, with a surface of only 7620 square meters. Strombolicchio is only 49 meters high and had a solar energy lighthouse built on it during 1925. On this small island there is no water or fertile soil, but only a sort of vegetation at risk of extinction, the granata rupicola ( Bassia Saxicola) and the aeolian lizard ( Podarcis raffonae), also at risk of extinction.

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