Permanent Tourist

The personal website of Mark Howells-Mead

Pollara Lighthouse

After creating a secondary backup of the past five years’ worth of photos this week, totalling several hundred gigabytes of raw data, I’ve finally managed to get back to a small set of photos from our trip to the Aeolian Island of Salina, off the northern coast of Sicily, where we spent a few days in May to attend a friend’s wedding. The set is of a ruined and abandoned lighthouse on the main road from Malfa, atop three hundred metre high cliffs on the north western corner of the island. We stopped off there on our way to the village of Pollara, buzzing around on our rented moped and heading to the western side of the island to photograph the sunset over the neighbouring islands of Filicudi and Alicudi.

I’ve done some research and while the most quickly found reference to the lighthouse is in a travel blog post at The Times, where the author states that the building is Moorish, other references state that the current structure dates to the early 20th century, was used during the Second World War, and for which a heritage offer from UNESCO was turned down by the local council. (Source.) This history seems to be more realistic, based on the construction and comparatively modern style. Either way, the building is now an interesting ruin, with spectacular views across the bay at Pollara and out over the Mediterranean, and an interior of small low-ceilinged rooms almost entirely covered in graffiti left behind by couples and groups who have visited through the years.

The village of Pollara itself is set on a plateau above the sea, where steps lead down to what remains of the beach made famous by the film “Il Postino“, and surrounded by high and abrupt cliffs. The unusual landscape on this corner of the island was formed around 12,000 years ago, when the youngest of the five volcanoes on the small island exploded and took a large chunk out of the island. Being the only easily accessible spot on the island which faces due west, it is a popular destination for romantics looking to enjoy the sunset.

Further references

There are a series of websites in various languages about this area of the island of Salina linked through Google (search for “Semaforo Pollara“) and pictures of Pollara at Flickr.

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