Salina historical – summary

The island development is due to the abundance of water and then of vegetation

From a historical point of view Salina had an important role too in the evolution of Neolithic Aeolia. Bronze age settlements are of Serra dei Cionfi (which go back to the Capo Graziano period) and of Sciara Portella (the Milazzese period).


The latter was violently destroyed, maybe around 1270 B.C. by the Ausoni. In the island’s history there has been alternatively periods of abandonment and others of strong development. Traces of the IV – Vth century B.C. settlement can be found in the Serra dell’Acqua area. Findings near S. Marina identify a considerable settlement, formed around the IVth century B.C., developed in the Ellenistic age and then more so in the late Roman Imperial age.

The development continued until the Byzantine and Medieval age. Around the VIIth century A. D. Salina was one of the most populated Aeolian islands, because Lipari’s volcano was in full activity.  The Arab invasions caused it to remain desolate, until around the XVIIth century repopulation and reactivation lead to new splendors. Salina is the most fertile of the Aeolian islands. Quality grapes are cultivated here, from which the Malvasia delle Lipari sweet wine is obtained. The caper cultivation is very important too, being exported worldwide.


The island development is due to the abundance of water and then of vegetation: in 1980 the regional park of Salina, and in 1981 a natural reserve of the two mountains were created. The prehistoric village that came to light in the Portella area (S. Marina) belongs to the middle Bronze Age. It had already been studied in 1955 by Luigi Bernabò Brea and Madeleine Cavalier when nine huts with oval or circular ground plans were excavated.

The building methods reflected the need to adapt to the natural environment. Besides a large fireplace, the ground inside the huts was filled with broken vases destroyed when the site was abandoned. Among these were the large pithoi vases used to hold water.

The huts were covered over to aid their conservation because, as the site is extremely hard to reach, the public would not have been able to visit it. The inhabitants of the village, which is elongated in structure, belonged to the Milazzese people. The huts are dug out on short natural terraces mostly on the northern side of the ridge which is, oddly, better protected from the main winds of the islands, possible because of the effect created by the deep ravines. It now appears from the latest discoveries that the highest terraces on the northern ridge were once occupied by other huts.

The Portella village as it comes to light, is proving to be as significant a settlement as the Panarea (Capo Milazzese) and Lipari (Acropolis) settlements of the same period.