The Museo Eoliano in Lipari has produced a highly visual fold out guide to the ancient inhabitants of the Aeolian islands of Lipari, Salina, Filicudi and Alicudi, Stromboli and Panarea.
The map indicates exactly where on each island you need to head to unravel this fascinating history, which is also a history of Mediterranean civilisation.
It all began a little after 2000 BC when adventurers from Greece imported revolutionary ideas and know how. These included the construction of new circular stone and mud structures and the production of bronze and ceramics.
Except for Vulcano, which was deemed too dangerous to inhabit, traces of their prescence can be found on each island, but in particular Capo Graziano on Filicudi and around the castle of Lipari.
The rise of the Mycenaean civilisation in Greece was a great boost to the local economy and elegantly painted ceramics became a major export for over five centuries.
Around 1270 BC a new people arrived in Lipari. They were the Ausoni from Campania and another prosperous period followed, but trade turned westwards towards the Nuraghic people of Sardinia as the Mycenaean age declined.
Around 900 BC the settlements of Lipari were repeatedly destroyed and eventually became abandoned for three centuries until the foundation of the Sicilian Greek colonies of Naxos, Siracusa, Catania, Leontinoi, Megara Hyblaea and Rhegion et al.
Lipari rose again and attracted the attention of the Etruscans who wanted regional control of the sea, as well as source of slaves. The Battle of Cuma in 474 BC put an end to their aggression.
Do check out the 'Museo Archeologico Regionale Eoliano Luigi Bernabò Brea'.