The Sicilian regional assembly has allowed an exception to the local planning laws and granted permission for the construction or extensions to 8 hotels, new access roads and swimming pools on the islands of Lipari and Vulcano in the Eolian archipelago to the north of Sicily. The decision has brought immediate protest from island residents, environmental groups and politicians in the Italian government and in the opposition, including the minister for agriculture, Gianni Alemanno and the minister for the national heritage, Giuliano Urbani, who has threatened to challenge the decision.

Parts of the Eolian islands make up a Unesco world heritage site and the director of the world sites has said that if the new buildings are in Unesco-protected areas then the status of sites may be removed.