Interesting tidbit of information. It was the Venetians that gave Santorini its name. It is derived from Santa Irene and when travelers from Western Europe came to the island for supplies, they saw it as an appropriate name. It is said that the ancient name of the island, Thera, comes from its first settler, a Spartan named Theran.
There are traces of the decades of Venetian occupation of Santorini. The castles at Skaros, Pyrgos and Emporio are only some of them and Dandelion Travel can help you visit them. There is a strong Catholic presence on the island because of Santorini’s Venetian years and this also shows in the architecture, especially in churches and monasteries, that sometimes is a mix between Aegean and Roman-Catholic.
The ancient, prehistoric settlement of Akrotiri is one of the most important archaeological discoveries of the past decades. It was built in the Neolithic era and was considered a very important city in the Aegean, until it was destroyed by the volcanic eruption that also brought down the Minoan civilization. You can also visit the archaeological site of ancient Thira at Mesa Vouno that was built in the 9th century BC and was inhabited until the Byzantine era.
Santorini used to be circular (which is why it was called Στρογγύλη, Greek for ‘Circular’). The various parts of the volcano, such as Nea Kameni, Palaia Kameni, the Christiana islands, are places to visit. You can easily arrange a trip there by boat, but you can still enjoy these places from afar, as Fira offers magnificent views. Sadly, you can’t visit the underwater volcano of Columbo, unless you have scuba gear.
Santorini is essentially what remains after an enormous volcanic eruption that destroyed the earliest settlements on a formerly single island, and created the current geological caldera. A giant central, rectangular lagoon, which measures about 12 by 7 km (7.5 by 4.3 mi), is surrounded by 300 m (980 ft) high, steep cliffs on three sides.