Formerly known as Ericusa, (from the ancient Greek Ἐρικοῦσα because of the plentiful presence of heather bushes), Alicudi, the most solitary island of the Aeolians, was the last isle to be populated. The history of Alicudi, similarly to other isles of archipelago, has its roots in millenniums of conquests, raids and slavery, but is different, together with Filicudi, because it is not strictly bound to the historical events of Lipari, the biggest between the islands, and having the most important history.
The first discovered evidences date back to the ancient Bronze Age ( XVII -XVI B. C.) The remains have been discovered in the zone adjacent the Palumbo rock and at the peak of Filo dell’Arpa. The findings of numerous tools, found in 1975 make us understand that the first inhabitants were fond of fish and agriculture. Several are the evidences of the Roman Age. Numerous pottery was found on marine seabed. Alicudi probably assumed an important role of seaport for trading and for relationships with western Sicily, particularly with Palermo. The finds of major interest are some sarcophagus in lava stone dating back to the IV B. C., containing perfectly conserved majolica. The isolated position and the small number of inhabitants made of Alicudi a greedy booty for villains who brought death and destruction, and made the brutal inhabitant’s deportation, sold then as slaves. The inhabitant’s fear and frequent raids explain the morphology of the village. This one was situated at the altitude of 350m near the village of San Bartolo, where rises the ancient church rebuilt in 1821 upon the ruins of the sixteenth century sacristy. Another evidence of fear of possible raids is the presence of a natural fortification called Timpone delle Femmine. It is about an arduous zone where women and children took shelter in case of raids. Villains and corsairs brought this island nearly to the state of abandon.
According to the researches it is known that the repopulation occurred around 1600, the period when on the island there was major population than nowadays. The 20th century was a century of great depression; the island having only 700 inhabitants, had a strong demographic fall due both to the contamination of cereals attacked by fungus, and the possibility of better life in Australia and America.