This post is part of a weekly feature called Discovery of the Week. By discovery, I mean a place, a custom or dish that is not widely known. See, I love to read travel magazines, websites and books. Very often, I find beautiful and interesting gems that not a lot of people seem to know about. That is why I thought about introducing this feature because I am sure it will expose a lot of astonishing places. Additionally, I enjoy learning about the many amazing places in the world. I believe my readers also enjoy this activity.
Discovery of the Week: Aegadian Islands. In Italian, they are known as Isole Egadi.
Where are they located: Off the northwest coast of Sicily, Italy, near the city of Trapani in the Mediterranean Sea.
What are they: A group of small mountainous islands. The archipelago is composed of the following:
- Favignana – the largest island. In ancient times Favignana was called Aegusa, meaning “goat island”. The present name is derived from Favonio, an Italian name for the foehn wind. It was colonized by the Phoenicians, who used it as a stopping point on their trans-Mediterranean trading routes. The island is famous for its caves of calcarenite rock (locally known as “tufo”) and the ancient fishing technique of tonnara, originally of Arab origin, with the trapping and mattanza(massacre) of bluefin tuna. Favignana is one of the few places in Italy where this is still done. Because the island consists mainly of calcareous rocks, there are few beaches on the island; however, it is a popular site for scuba diving, snorkeling, and for day trips from nearby Trapani.
- Levanzo – the smallest island of the commune. The island has about 450 inhabitants. The habitation is mainly centered around a tiny port, that gives little shelter from storms. The ancient name of the island was “Phorbantia” which is a sort of plants growing there. Levanzo is famous for the “Grotta del Genovese” with Neolithic cave paintings and Palaeolithic graffitoes.
- Marettimo – The ancient name of the island was “Hiera”, part of the Greek name “Hiera Nesos”, which means “Sacred Island” in Greek. The name Marettimo probably comes from the words Mar (Sea) and Timo (Thyme) due to the profusion of thyme on the island. However, it may stem from a local pronunciation of the word “maritimo”. The island was an important observation point during Roman times, hence the Casa Romana, where it was easy observe passing maritime traffic. There are several impressive grottos around the islands coast and innumerable spots for excellent swimming in pristine waters on the western coast accessible only by boat.
- There are also two minor islands, Formica and Maraone, lying between Levanzo and Sicily.
Here are some photos of this islands full of incredible beauty:
Did you know about these islands? Let me know in the comments section below.
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