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History of Salina

The history of Salina, such as that of the whole archipelago, tells a tumultuous past which saw from the V millennium B.C., a succession of settings, conquests, raids, and piracy, which shaped the entity of this folk. The current name is attributable to the Romans, who used a small lake of Lingua called salina to extract salt. Previously, the Greeks called it Didyme (twins), whose name represented the characteristic aspect of the island with two high nearly identic peaks. The first evidences of a pre-historical settlement date back to the last centuries of the V millennium B.C.. recently discovered in Rinella fraction, the finds attest the obsidian working, imported to Lipari, and used for fabrication of tools. Others, going back to 3000 B.C., were found on Mount Fossa delle Felci. From the last century of the III millennium B.C. the island was inhabited by populations coming from Greece, probably the Aeolis, who gave a name to the archipelago, and by other populations, coming from Sicily, and making part of the civility of Thapos. Dating back to the Neolithic Age, and belonging to the culture of Capo Graziano are the sites found in Leni zones, in Megna locality; in Santa Marina in Serro Brigadiere locality, and Serro Cianfi locality, populated till the XV century B.C.. The finds attributed to Milazzo civility are those of Santa Marina, in Portella locality, dating back to XV B. C. , the colonisation which lasted a little more than a century, probably because of the Ausoni, the population coming from Campania which destroyed an island. They say Salina remained uninhabited till 580 B.C., when a Greek population of Doric ancestry settled in Lipari. These people, once appreciated the place’s fertility, transformed Salina into the Aeolians’ Garden, and Santa Marina into the principal centre of the island. Dating back to the next millennium are the Greek, Roman , and Byzantine settlements, whose evidences reveal their presence till 840 A.D., the date when the Arabian conquest took place.

Lenis’ roots lay deep in millenniums of history, and its name derives from the Greek lenoi because of the containers where grapes was pressed. In the XII century the island was inhabited by Amalfitan refugees, who arrived to the nowadays locality of Malfa, whom surely gave a name. From this period till 1500 the only evidence found were those of a settlement dating back to the Dark Ages in Serro Perciato zone in Santa Marina. The finds discovered in numerous sites are kept in the Regional Archaeological Museum of Lipari, in the Section of the Minor Isles, and in the small Civic Museum of Santa Marina. The recent history goes hand in hand with the administrative independence of the Commune of Lipari. In fact, from 1867 Salina became an autonomic commune, and 42 years later there was a division into 3 small communes: Santa Marina, Malfa, and Leni, completely autonomic even today. The touristic island’s vocation is relatively recent: some decades ago the island was wrongly neglected by the Aeolian visitors, and still nowadays it has less developed structures if compared to most known and visited Lipari and Vulcano. In 1994 Massimo Troisi set the most suggestive scenes of his last film, Il Postino (The Postman), which gave an enormous visibility to those incomparable landscapes.