Panarea is the second smallest (after Basiluzzo) of the eight Aeolian Islands, a volcanic island chain north of Sicily. It is a frazione of the comune of Lipari. There are currently about 280 residents living on the island year-round; however the population increases dramatically in summer with the influx of tourists. In recent years, the island has become known internationally for its celebrity visitors.
The island is an inactive volcano with a total surface area of only 3.4 km2 (1.3 sq mi). The highest point on the island, Punta del Corvo, is 421 m (1,381 ft) above sea level. There are thermal springs near the village of Punta di Peppe e Maria. Scuba diving is a popular excursion on this tiny island, and you can even swim to a shipwreck between the offshore rocks of Lisca Bianca and Bottaro.
In antiquity, the island was named "Euonymus"; the nearby islet of Basiluzzo, administered from Panarea, was named "Hycesia". There is archaeological evidence on the island dating back to Mycenaean inhabitants (~ 1200 BCE), and the island was settled by Romans. There were people still living on the island until pirates and other Mediterranean raiders made life unbearable after the Fall of Rome.
Panarea and the entire Aeolian chain were declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000. Largely because of this, construction and development are strictly regulated and the community retains its storied insularity. Most residences admit only temporary occupancy, and the few year-round homes available are highly expensive and difficult to obtain.
- Ezio Giunta, dir. (2005). "Panarea". Estateolie 2005*The Essential Guide (English version of Tourist Guidebook): 100–103.
- Richard Talbert, Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World, (ISBN 0-691-03169-X), Map 46.
- Chaplin, Julia. "Fantasy Island". W (Condé Nast) (August 2011): 66–67. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
- "World Heritage Convention: Isole Eolie (Aeolian Islands)". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. 2011. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
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