Of all the Cyclades Islands, Santorini is often considered the most dramatic. Once an active volcano, in approximately 1620 BC, the volcano erupted with such force that the center of the island literally exploded, leaving a submerged crater. The island's small villages were preserved in the ashes giving a fascinating view of everyday life from 3,600 years ago. Santorini's landscape offsets its simple buildings, which shine in the brilliant sunlight. The rich volcanic soil is ideal for grapes and the local vines produce a crop known for its "special volcanic taste." Thíra, or Firá Town, is laid out along the edge of a cliff that forms a portion of the rim of the now extinct caldera. This picturesque site has a charm and atmosphere that can be attributed to the easy-going Greek lifestyle.