In the antiquity the island was called Thermessa, the hot one, and later, with increasing propagation of the Hephaistos cult, one called it Hiera, the holy one. The ancient Greeks thought themselves, the God of the fire would have his forge in the throat of the volcano. Here manufactured he and his one eyed assistant, the cyclops, lightnings for Zeus and weapons for other Gods.
Antiquity authors report of continuous activities of the volcano. The peninsula Vulcanello, which forms today Vulcanos northern part, emerged only in the year 183 v. Chr. due a submarine eruption from the sea. Only 450 years later a land bridge from cinder and ash, which connected Vulcanello with the island, was formed.
The Romans transferred the name of its fire God Vulcanus to the island and were also the first which began with the reduction of sulfur. But however the island was inhabited till the 19th century.
Later again sulfur was mined, it was needed for the production of ammunition and explosive. The mining was done by convicts, who had to work under inhuman conditions.
In the year 1860 a Scot, named Stevenson, bought a majority of the island and kept going to mine sulfur and alum by the Faraglione della Fabrica (at the port). The "employees" were again very badly treated. The eruptions of the Gran Cratere in the years 1888 to 1890 left no stone on the other and set Stevensons enterprise a sudden end. The island changed into the possession of native fisherman and farmers.
Vulcano received a new upswing in the passed years by the tourism. But the volcano is not dead by any means. The volcanologists register an increase of the fumarol activity, the temperatures in the background rise. One must have however no fear, because the volcano is well monitored. But a small tickle remains. On average this volcano erupts every 100 years. That means that it is actually overdue...
The island is worth for a daily trip (e.g. from Lipari) or also for a longer stay. Worth seeing is also the level of piano.