June 4, 2009 / Places
pantelleria1Called Bent el Riah in Arabic, (Daughter of the Wind), this wild spot in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea is possibly the most unique of all the Sicilian islands. A land of contrasts, it is known for the beauty of its colors and at the same time the harshness of its volcanic origins, for the sweet smells of its plants and flowers of the countryside and the strong almost violent presence of the sea.

Legend holds that Pantelleria is the island of Ogigia where Odysseus “suffered” the imprisonment of Calypso’s love. Mythology says that Bacchus made the island his home to taste the sweet passito wine made here, and that Venus would visit him each evening, but only after looking at her reflection each time in its waters in order to compare her beauty to that of Psyche.

pantelleria2Gabriel Garcia Marquez perhaps described the island best:

I don’t think there is a place in the world more ideal than Pantelleria to think of the Moon. And Pantelleria is much more beautiful. The endless plains of volcanic rock, the calm sea, the dammusi (traditional volcanic rock houses) where you can see African lighthouses through their windows on windless nights.. the bottom of the sea asleep… an ancient amphora with stone garlands and the remains of some wine corroded over the years… bathing in a vaporous bowl in water so thick with minerals you can walk on it…


– Contributed by Paolo Caravacci and Paola De Angelis, expert Pantelleria hosts at the lovely dammuso

5 Responses to “Pantelleria”

  1. Diane Doll

    My daily fix of things Italian is so delightful. Today’s note on Pantellaria was something totally unknown to me.

    My father was born in Lucca in 1906 and came to America as a fifteen year old. He so totally immersed himself in his new country that I didn’t get a tutorial growing up. But, years later my husband and I found Italy on its own and fell in love. Unfortunately I never got to Lucca, but through research I feel I have been there.

    Thank you for all you do.

    Diane Cinquini Doll

  2. Sylvia Ross

    Again, I too would like to thank you for bringing into my home the lovely places my husband and I have missed seeing, even after being in Italy 6 times. We need five lifetimes to see it all, and even then, who knows.

    Tante grazie.

  3. How very beautiful! I know what you all mean. We lived in Sicily for 6 months and did not get to Pantelleria. Another reason to return! Thank you for the lovely note.

  4. john barleycorn

    I HAVE BEEN THERE! several time …IT IS AN AMAZING ISLAND!!..Pantelleria is one of the most southern islands of Italy and It’s a unique place for both its beautiful landscape and the quality of life. It is closer to Tunisia than to Italy so it feels the effects of Arab culture and the towns maintained their arabic names in time.
    Pantelleria is a wonderful place, suitable for all the people who want to spend an holiday drenched in nature.
    The good season is very long and begins in April, with warmer temperatures compared to the ones in the continent, and ends in October. It’s warmly recommended to spend at least two weeks in the island because It has a slow place and requires time to be savoured.


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