|Trapani between islands and coral|
|The Egadi Islands Favignana, Levanzo and Marettimo are just off the coast of Trapani, very close at hand. They are easily seen from the town, the salt-pans at Nubia, the isle of Mozia, the top of Erice as well as from Marsala and all the coast from Trapani to Monte Cofano.|
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One can reach them in just a few minutes, but once there the feeling is that of being far away from the mainland, surrounded by a wild, and unspoiled environment of impressive beauty.
Mount Santa Caterina dominates the island of Favignana, where every year in May the old tradition of tuna fishing is revived. The visitor is impressed by the majestic Tonnara Florio, a fine example of old industrial building, an by the elegance and gentleness of the art nouveau Palazzo Florio.
The tourist is fascinated by the crystalclear sea, famous for the historic naval battle of the England Islands between the Romans and Carthaginians in 241 BC, enticed by the silence of the bays Cala Rossa, Cala Azzurra, Grotta Perciata and Cala Rotonda, and amazed by the colours of the countryside.
The use of tufa, a variety of sandstone quarried in Favignana, has determined the colour of many neighbouring towns and marked an important period of the island's economic history.
Off the northern coast of Favignana lies the islands of Levanzo, famous for its numerous archaeological objects found in the deep sea. This island has been inhabited since every ancient times, as is shown by the neolithical paintings of 5000 years ago found in the Genovese Grotto.
The magic triangle of the Egadi Islands is completed by Marettimo, the remotest and wildest of the three, with its marvellous caves and mountainous paths. It is a small island, which gives the visitor the opportunity of living in symbiosis with nature.
In the stretch of sea between Trapani an Levanzo there is one more island, Formica.
Here the Florio family built another tonnara, which has been recently restored.
Between the Sicilian and the African coasts lies Pantelleria, the precious black pearl of the Mediterranean Sea. The strategic location of this island was exploited by the Phoenicians and the Carthaginians, later followed by the Arabs, Vandals, Byzantines, Normans, Angevins, Aragonese, Genoese, Spaniards and Bourbons.
The neolithical burial-ground called Sesi is a unique record of an old Mediterranean culture of 5000 years ago.
Today the town of Pantelleria, once called Cossyra by the Romans and Bent el rion (child of the wind) by the Arabs, is situated in a small bay. Its view is charcterized by the dammusi, from the Latin world domus, house. They are very common buildings with thick drystone walls and dome-shaped roofs used to collect rainwater, which through and appropriate system of canalization is conveyed to underground tanks.
Famous for the growing of capers an zibibbo grapes as well as for the making of muscate wine, Pantelleria is an important tourist attraction.
One is enchanted by the transparent sea, the striking lava cliffs, the volcanic lake called Specchio di Venere, the countless natural springs inside the caves, the beautiful lands whose names show their Arab origin: Khamma, Gadir and Sibar.
Pantelleria is an island marked by bright colours, from the deep blue sea to the overall black rocks, from the dazzling white dammusi to the dark green vineyards. It is also an island with many contrasts, hit by violent winds and characterized by a rich variety of charming and sensuous scenery, a land which conquers everybody's heart.
Texts and photos, gently permitted, are property of A.P.T. Trapani - www.apt.trapani.it
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