The Egadi Islands: Favignana, Marettimo, Levanzo

From Trapani harbour it is easy to reach the Egadi archipelago, one of the biggest Marine Reserves in Europe. The largest island, Favignana, is only eight nautical miles from Trapani.

The island of Favignana has always been in a privileged position on the sea routes between Rome and Africa. A site of important historical events and legends, it is said that a famous naval battle between the Roman and Carthaginian fleets took place just off the coast of the island in the year 241 BC, during the First Punic War.

The island is a fascinating microcosm worth discovering both for its beautiful bays, beaches and caves, and for its cultural attractions. The ancient Tonnara Florio for example, is an unmissable piece of industrial architecture devoted to the conservation of tuna. There is also the Palazzina Florio and the Santa Caterina fortress, an old Arab observation post rebuilt by the Norman King Roger II and later used as a prison by the Bourbons.

Another important feature of the landscape of the island are the ancient open-pit turf quarries, both inland and on the coast.

Marettimo, the furthest of the islands from the Sicilian coast, appears as a mountain rising up out of the blue sea. As well as being the westernmost, it is also the wildest, most unspoilt of the Egadi Islands. The village of Marettimo is on the east coast, at the foot of the mountain. There are various interesting walks to Monte Falcone, to Punta Troia (with the castle) and to Monte Capraro, where “le Case Romane”, a Roman fortress and a small church dating from the Byzantine period (10th century), once stood.