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Pantelleria

Pantelleria - SicilyCossyra for Greeks and Phoenicians, Bent-el-ryon (“daughter of wind”) for Arabs, Pantelleria lies as an indented lava vessel in the heart of the Mediterranean Basin, closer to Tunisia than to Sicily.

Strong winds sweep the island for most of the year, perpetually tormenting its inhabitants and farmlands. Pantelleria is quite dry, water springs are very few, but the soil takes advantage of the rich lava deposits, making it incredibly fertile. Its inhabitants have invented special techniques to protect their farmlands from strong squalls of wind, blowing with an average speed of over twelve knots.

Pantelleria has both a farming and marine nature. Vineyards are planted in small ditches, citrus fruit trees are surrounded by high stone walls, and olive trees are grown at ground level, to save them from the rage of winds. In the summer, fishers, both professional and amateurs, can boast substantial hauls.

Cultivated grounds, vineyards, green woods of maritime pines and Aleppo pines mark the landscape, but volcanoes are the absolute protagonists of the island: there are twenty-four “cuddie” (a Sicilian word for “volcanic dents”) surrounding the extinct crater of Montagna Grande (836m), the highest volcanic peak. Other examples of volcanic activity are the thermal phenomena: the so called stufe and favare (jets of hot vapor coming out of large cracks and caves), caldarelle (thermal water springs), buvire (ponds of brackish water) and mofette (puffs of carbonic dioxide) are scattered anywhere on the island.

During pre-historic era Pantelleria was inhabited by the mysterious Sesi. Then it was colonized by Phoenicians and Carthaginians. It passed under the Roman rule in 217 BC, and in VIII century AD was conquered by Arabs, ruling the island over 400 years and importing the growing of cotton, olives and vineyards. After the Norman rule, the island shared the same fate of the Sicily.

Pantelleria bay

The Arch of the Elephant

Typical Pantelleria house - Dammuso

Lake of Venere in Pantelleria

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