In the footsteps of Odysseus

Odysseus is probably best known as the hero of the Odyssey. Homer's novel describes his 10-year journey around the Mediterranean sea as he tries to return to Ithaca after winning the Trojan war.

To nowadays, disputes arise between the locations claiming of having played host to Odysseus' epic adventures but everyone agrees that Italy can rightfully claim some of the most significant stops.

 

Mt Etna and the Cyclops Riviera - The cave of Polyphemus

Mt Etna is believed to be the location where Odysseus used his acumen to blind the one-eyed Cyclope Polyphemus. A group of large rocks emerging from the sea along the Cyclops Riviera are said to be the rocks thrown by Polyphemus during his outburst. Unfortunately, as he sailed off with his men, Odysseus boastfully revealed his real name storing up problems for later as Polyphemus prays to his father, Poseidon, for revenge.

The many caves found on the slopes of Mt Etna and the dangerous nature of the volcano provided the ideal environment to imagine them as the residence of Polyphemus and his fellow Cyclops. It is also said that the Sicilians inhabiting the territory around Mt Etna used to attack every ship that passed its shore.

Nowadays, Mt Etna is nicknamed 'The Good Giant' as its eruptions no longer pose a threat and in most cases provide the locals and visitors with a beautiful pyrotechnic display.

Explore Mt Etna with the only authorised guide

North slope - www.guidetnanord.com
South slope - funiviaetna.com

Cycle along the Cyclops Riviera

www.siciliainbici.it/road-bike-routes/riviera-of-the-cyclops/

 

Mt Etna

Cyclops Riviera

 

The Aeolian island - Aeolus the God of wind

After narroly escaping Poseidon's rage, Odysseus meets with Aeolus – Master of the Wind and King of the Islands. Aeolus lived with his wife and many children on a beautiful floating island called Aeolia (Lipari). Odysseus and his men spent a month resting and enjoying the beauty of the archipelago, they then left after Aeolus had gift them with a bag containing all the winds to help him sailing to his beloved Ithaca.

It is not difficult to understand why Odysseus enjoy Aeolus hospitality, the Aeolian islands are a collection of 7 volcanic islands of astonishig beauty. Beside Odysseus, the islands have always been a favourite among the Greeks and Roman. The island of Volcano is said to be the residence of Hephaestus was the Greek god of fire, the Romans call him Vulcan. The archaeological museum on the island of Lipari boasts boasts one of Europe's finest collections of ancient finds.

Museo archeologico regionale eoliano

Entrance: 6 euro
http://www.regione.sicilia.it/beniculturali/museolipari/pagina.asp?Idlingua=2&Id=1

Stromboli excursion

From the 15th of March to 31st October - cost 28 euro
http://magmatrek.it/en/

 

Aeolian islands

 

 

Lake Avernus - Odysseus descends in to the Hades

When Odysseus's crew finally convince him to leave the island of the sorceress Circe, she tells him that he must meet with the spirit of Tiresias who will tell him the way home. When Odysseus descends in the underworld, Odysseus meets with various Greek heroes that have affected his life at some point in time.

Lake Avernus, near Naples, is universally recognised as the entrance in the Hades, the Greek underworld. It lies in the volcanic region of the Phlegraean (Burning) Fields. The word Avernus means without birds as the birds would not fly over to avoid the sulphurous smell rising from its waters.

Despite its reputation, the Romans built villas and made the city of Baia one of the largest port of the Roman empire. Because of the negative bradyseism, the part of the city of Baia has now sunked in the sea and it's possible to organise archeological diving.

Archeological diving

The Centro Sub Campi Flegrei is a diving centre in Lucrino that offers everything you need from equipment to diving courses to guided diving tours, in addition to fully-serviced beach front facilities such as showers, changing rooms, bars, sun decks and more.

For some extra scuba diving, the centre also organises tours around the Phlegraean islands of Ischia and Procida, where you can discover more underwater archaeological wonders.

A half-day excursion (8.30am-1pm) with one dive costs €30, and a full day (8.30am-5pm) with two dives and lunch on board is €60. Equipment can also be rented at €15

www.centrosubcampiflegrei.it

 

Lake Avernus

The Roman Market, Pozzuoli

Underwater city of Baia