The name Stromboli comes from the Greek word ‘strongyle’, which means ‘terrace’. Its inhabitants usually refer to it as ‘Struògnuli’ or simply ‘Iddu’ (He), to show that the volcano is part of them, like a beloved person or beign, alsmost as way of exorcising the fact that they live at the foot of an active volcano.
Stromboli was regularly inhabited from around 1600. The population lived mainly on Mediterranean farming, cultivating olives, grapes (the production of malvasia is well-know), figs and capers. The steep slopes of the volcano were cultivated in terrace up to a height of around 600 metres.
Other sources of income were provided by fishing and the navy. At its economic peak the island had around 4000 inhabitants. The naval crisis at the end of the 1800s and the beginning of the 1900s, along with the arrival of the vine pest (a parasite which attacked and destroyed the vines) led to an economic slump and subsequent migration of the population to American and Australia, which reached its height after the violent eruption of 1930.
In the 1950s the island enjoyed something of revival thanks to Roberto Rosssellini’s film ‘Stromboli’ starring Ingrid Bergman, culminating in an explosion in tourism to the detriment of other economic activities.
Today the island survives solely on tourism.