is an island 12 miles
off the northern coast of Sicily
. Its name describes exactly what it is: a volcano
. However, it is actually the combination of three volcanoes, each differing in age. Two of the three (the largest and the smallest ones) are inactive
. However, the middle volcano is alive and kicking
Vulcano is the southernmost island in a series of volcanic islands called the Aeolian Islands. It is unique among them in that it, along with Stromboli is still active. While Stromboli is in a state of perpetual eruption (5 mini-eruptions per day, Vulcano has been more or less quiet for the last 100 years. In lieu of eruptions, however, Vulcano's active crater is busy spewing out sulphuric gases. It is possible to hike to the top of this crater and get right down into the bottom of it and, as long as you watch the wind shifting, get right up to some of the many vents for this gas.
It is being predicted that Vulcano will have another eruption in the next 30 years. This does not bode well for the town of Vulcano which sits on the northern base of the active volcano. Unfortunately for them, this is the side of the volcano that people are predicting the lava will flow towards, destroying the village which was illegally built there in the first place (I guess they can't say they weren't warned when it happens).
For those of you interested in visiting the Aeolian Islands, travel down to Sicily take a bus from Messina (the first city right off the tip of Italy) to the port of Milazzo. There are regular ferries to Lipari (the main island) and Vulcano.