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Pantelleria

 An island with an ancient past
Since ancient times, because of its strategic geographical position between Sicily and Africa, the Island of Pantelleria, ancient Cossyra, played a fundamental role in trade between the two continents. Fought over by the Carthaginians and the Romans during the Punic wars, it passed definitively in 217BC under Roman administration.
 
Port of Pantelleria.
Port of Pantelleria. Copyright © Sisterscom.com / imagesef / Shutterstock
 
Pantelleria. Sesi tomb.
 Pantelleria. Sesi tomb. Copyright © Sisterscom.com / Shutterstock
The village of Murcia and the Necropolis
The oldest area, overlooking the sea and surrounded by powerful walls, is the ancient fortified village of Murcia, dating back to 1700 - 1900 BC, which today due to its exceptional state of conservation allows us to see what life was like in ancient times, with housing similar to circular huts. Adjacent to the village is the necropolis, with more than fifty Sesi, dome-shaped tombs made with volcanic stone.
 
The Acropolis of San Marco
The Acropolis of San Marco is the custodian of its historical past, overlooking a vast area of sea and land from the top of a hill. Particularly significant is the abundance of bell-shaped cisterns built into the rock that provided water to the inhabitants and farmland. Inside some of these, interesting Italic-Corinthian capitals have been found, such as the three imperial portraits depicting Julius Cesar, Antonia Minor and Titus, who have toured the world, including Japan, in various exhibitions.
 
 
The archaeological site of Lago di Venere also dates back to Roman times, and includes a large sanctuary in Ionic style, once dedicated to fertility and water, a precious resource for the Island of Pantelleria, and then to the Roman goddess Venus.
 
Pantelleria. Lago di Venere.
Pantelleria. Lago di Venere. Copyright © Sisterscom.com / Shutterstock
 
Items in fine Pantellerian fired ceramics were found in a shipwreck at the bottom of the harbour, in the Roman settlement of Scauri: a sign of the vast productive and commercial activities of the city.
 
From the point of view of nature, Pantelleria offers visitors a wide variety: from the marine environment, one of the most unspoilt in the Mediterranean basin, with coral reefs (which include the very rare black coral), the Favare, crevices of volcanic rock which emit water in the form of spectacular plumes of steam, the natural saunas and natural steam vents, as well as the one-of-a-kind Grotta del Freddo, or “pirtuso du notaro”, which emits a stream of cold air.
 
Pantelleria. Arco dell'Elefante.
Pantelleria. Arco dell'Elefante. Copyright © Sisterscom.com / Shutterstock
 
From the top of the Nature Reserve, abundant with pine and oak trees of the Montagna Grande, in the centre of the island, you can admire a splendid panorama. On a boat excursion on one of the most untouched seas in the world, black cliffs as well as inlets and bizarrely shaped caves that protrude from the mainland can be spotted, which are shaped by wind, by sea and by lava: among them there is one with a shape that is similar to a camel.
 
Pantelleria. Lighthouse.
Pantelleria. Lighthouse. Copyright © Sisterscom.com / Shutterstock
 
From the main harbour, you can begin your tour around the city in an anti-clockwise fashion, around Arenella and Punta Sidere, where the coast is flat and accessible but becomes immediately jagged around Cala Modica in the town of Murcia. Carrying on down to Punta Fram, you come across a striking black, indented coastline. Low, smooth coasts then alternate with cliffs and caves, including the renowned caves of Sateria, which feature thermal springs used since ancient times.
But of all the inlets, coves and small bays, the tall, jagged coast of Nicà is the most spectacular. From here you can enjoy a wonderful view of the island or descend to the small port of Nicà, an ideal shelter for fishing boats.
 
Pantelleria.
Pantelleria. Copyright © Sisterscom.com / Shutterstock
 
Fishing has always played an important role in the economy of the island, though not fundamental due to resources coming from the trade of agricultural products: zibibbo grapes, raisins, sweet wine, capers, cotton, etc… A fleet of sailing boats, the famous “lance pantesche”, equipped with sails and oars, would leave the harbour with their cargo during the times of the Mediterranean markets.
 
Sicilian cuisine
The gastronomic culture of Sicily originates from the culinary traditions of the populations who lived on the island. The most popular and internationally recognized products are: arancini, cannolo sicilianocassata and the granita siciliana. Also famous are the unique dishes such as: caponatainsalata di arance (orange salad), parmigiana di melanzane and the gâteau of potatoes. The pasta is eaten every day with vegetables, meat, fish, cheese and sauces. To taste there are also: anelletti al fornopasta con le sardepasta alla normaspaghetti alla carrettera and the pasta 'ncaciata. Meat and fish cooked with various recipes abound. Not to be missed: pesce spada alla ghiotta, stoccafisso alla messinese, polpette di bianchetti and the sarde beccafico.
 
Copyright © Sisterscom.com / Shutterstock
Cannolo siciliano
Copyright © Sisterscom.com / Shutterstock
Granita siciliana
 
Copyright © Sisterscom.com / Shutterstock
Pasta alla Norma
Copyright © Sisterscom.com / Shutterstock
Melanzane alla parmigiana
 
Among the gastronomic specialties of the Island of Pantelleria are bitter ravioli stuffed with ricotta cheese and mint, and pesto pantesco made with fresh tomato, olive oil, garlic, basil and chili.
 

Text by Anna Glik
Photo: 
Sisterscom.com, Shutterstock

Video: www.visitsicily.info

Published on Avion Tourism Magazine

Copyright © Sisterscom.com

Update: July 2020

 

 

Tourism Board

www.comunepantelleria.it 

www.prolocopantelleria.it

www.visitsicily.info

 

 

Where to sleep in Pantelleria
Pantelleria.
Port of Pantelleria. Copyright © Sisterscom.com / Shutterstock

Pantelleria is a welcoming city and offers different possibilities for accommodation.

To find the ideal hotel and the best offers you can do a search for the stars but also for districts or landmarks.
 
STARS
Hotels for stars, differentiated by type of services:
 
B&B, HOMES, DAMMUSO
Stays in Bed & Breakfast, holiday homes, dammusi and resorts:
 
LANDMARKS
Hotels in tourist areas
 
AIRPORT
Hotels near the airport
 
 
 
 
where to go
Monuments
Pantelleria castle.
Copyright © Sisterscom.com / bepsy / Shutterstock
PANTELLERIA CASTLE

Pantelleria Castle stands at the mouth of the old port of the island and was built entirely of volcanic rock. It is thought that the establishment of the castle could date back to the Byzantine or Arab eras, even though its construction has been certified with certainty as dating back to not before the fourteenth century.  The castle was initially a fortification to protect maritime trading on the island, and until 1975 it was used as “prison for gentlemen”, while current renovation work is being carried out to turn the castle into a museum.

 

Pantelleria.
Copyright © Sisterscom.com / Shutterstock
THE TEMPLE-LAGO DI VENERE

This temple, situated in the northern part of the Island of Pantelleria, is in Ionic style, but its architectural structure has Punic elements of a previous building. It consists of a rectangular chamber where once there was a statue of the goddess. By comparing it to other sanctuaries located in the Mediterranean area, it is presumed that it was dedicated to the Punic goddess Tanit and then to the Roman goddess Venus.  

VILLAGGE OF MURSIA
The Village of Mursia, dating back to 1900-1700 BC, is located on the north-western coast of the island. Its exceptional state of preservation allows us to understand how the village was built. Overlooking the sea, it was surrounded by walls that enclosed houses similar to huts. The necropolis, city of the dead, with more than fifty Sesi, tombs built in stone in the shape of a dome, can still be seen alongside the fortified village.
 
ACROPOLIS OF SAN MARCO

The Acropolis of S. Marco, positioned on a hill, was inhabited by two civilisations: Punic and Roman. There are numerous cisterns dug out of the rock throughout the hill. Inside, architectural elements have been found and three famous imperial portraits were brought to light, which due to their particular beauty have toured the world, reaching even Japan. They portray Julius CaesarAntonia Minor and Titus.

Museums
VULCANOLOGY MUSEUM

Located in Punta Spadillo, in the headquarters of an old military barracks, the museum was opened on 9 August 2010 and is managed by the Forestry Department of the Sicily Regional Government. The two halls inside display examples of stones from the volcanic period. The walls are covered with numerous informative panels recounting the ancient and recent history of eruptions on the island and providing news on volcanos.

 

Excursions
Pantelleria. Nature Reserve.
Copyright © Sisterscom.com / Shutterstock
THE NATURE RESERVE

The Nature Reserve is situated on the Montagna Grande and has a dense forest of pines and holm oaks in the centre of the island. It is a marvellous natural oasis, and from the top of the mountain there is an unbeatable view. The Island of Pantelleria has 4 types of habitat: the evergreen forest, the forest, the garica scrubland and the Mediterranean steppe. 

Pantelleria.
Copyright © Sisterscom.com / Shutterstock
THE SEA AND THE COASTLINE

tour of the island by boat is the first thing to do once you have arrived on Pantelleria. The tour begins from the main port of Pantelleria and sails towards the principal resorts along the coast. The views of the coastline and the transparencies and reflections of the waves over the black strangely shaped rocks are thrilling to see. The green countryside, which majestically extends from the inland areas to the sea, unspoilt beaches and numerous fascinating and mysterious sea caves, opens onto the spectacle of untouched nature.

 
Pantelleria. Punta Fram.
Copyright © Sisterscom.com / Shutterstock
THE SEA BEDS

The marine environment of the Island of Pantelleria is one of the most unspoilt of the Mediterranean Sea. The splendid sea depths are abundant with fish and it is easy to find rays, whales and dolphins. Scuba diving is very popular among divers wanting to discover the wonders of the depths of Pantelleria. In Punta Fram, scuba diving is fairly challenging both for expert divers and beginners. Taglio di Scauri instead demands a good level of experience. 

Pantelleria.
Copyright © Sisterscom.com / Shutterstock
THE FAVARE

The Favare are emissions of water vapour from cracks in volcanic rocks that rise up to form spectacular columns of steam. The main one is the Favara Grande, which is found in the middle of enormous masses of rock on the slopes of the Montagna Grande, on the south-west side, in an area known as Fossa del Russo. These steam emissions were used in the past to water the livestock.

 
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