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Favignana, Sicily

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Favignana and the origin of its proper name

Favignana, which was called “the big butterfly on the sea” by the painter Salvatore Fiume in the 70’s, is the main and biggest Island of Egadi Archipelago. In ancient times it was called in several different ways like Aponiana, Katria, Gilia, and Aegusa in Latin or Aeugusa in Greek which means “Island of the goats” for their long presence on the Island. It is mentioned by ancient writers like Plinio, Polibio, Nepoziano the anonymous Ravennate and Arab geographers which called it Djazirat ‘ar Rahid (“Island of the monk” because of a castle in which a monk would have lived). Its present name has its origin from the middle ages and derives from the wind Favonio which blew from the west.

Geographic information on Favignana

The Island covers an area of 19,38 sqm. It is located 9 miles away from Trapani, in western Sicily. It is long 9 km and wide 4 km. Favignana is shaped like a butterfly spreading its wings, divided into two parts by a hill called Santa Caterina. In the whole archipelago there are 4.300 inhabitants.

Beaches, coves and diving

The bay of Cala Azzurra

The bay of Cala Azzurra

The major attractions of the island are its heavenly bays that are all different from one another and all unforgettable. The traveller encounters golden sandy beaches like Cala Azzurra, Lido Burrone, the Calamoni, or pebble sandy beaches at Punta Lunga, Preveto, Faraglioni and Punta Sottile where it is possible to see beautiful and breathtaking sunsets. The place, due to the cove, is perfect for snorkeling. Cala Rossa is particularly famous for its blue-turquoise water, from which the rocks emerge. There are also rocky areas like Grotta Perciata, Punta Fanfalo or the Cavallo for those who like diving. It is possible to do underwater diving according to ones trained ability. The tourists meet up with a range of activities.
The Island is intimate in the nicest way and its surrounding bays faced on a sea which just bag to be scuba dived

Archeology and culture

Ex Establishment Florio - Pilgrim's flask

Ex Establishment Florio – Pilgrim’s flask

Favignana, which was the most important tuna fishing in Sicily, is a city of art and culture, as well as sea and nature. There are, in fact, many cultural attractions like the Florio Establishment museum in which houses the “pilgrim flask”, dated back to the XV century, and still today full of wine, discovered during excavation near the Bue Marino together with other amphors. Other places to visit are the Florio Palace, churches, Santa Caterina and San Giacomo Norman castles, caves like the Grotte delle Stele, the Grotta Del Pozzo, the Grotte di Ficarra II and III and the Grotta dello Stemma. The archeological place par excellence is Saint Nicola where there is an ancient “women’s bath” of Roman date , and the ruins of an old establishment used probably to produce the garum, a famous Roman fish sauce. The caves of tuff are, without doubt, rich in History and they are real masterpieces obtained by the work and skills of the old quarrymen called “pirriaturi”. The more impressive caves are in Scalo Cavallo, Cala Rossa, and Bue Marino. Real works of art typical of this place are the Ipogei Gardens where fruit trees, planted in a cave, are surrounded by walls of tuff in order to protect them from the winds. The results seem to be a perfect union of tuff and nature.

A holiday in Favignana

Favignana is, without doubt, an ideal place to start a holiday on the Egadi Islands. As for the Island being the largest, it also gives you an easy journey to visit Levanzo and Marettimo. You can also visit Favignana by boat or car, but the best way to enjoy it is by bicycle or by scooter, in order to reach the isolated creeks. The island offers several and different tours; sport fishing for who loves adventures, visiting the Ipogei Garden, or cruising on a boat seeing the caves in the sea (Grotte Marine). The small village offers a relaxing and peaceful holiday away from the hectic city. Especially tasty are the typical dishes based on fresh tuna fish and local products. Naturally the sea in Favignana is unpolluted and characterized by impressive blue shaded water and by fine golden sandy beaches made pink by the coral brought forward by the marine currents .Even if you stay in a flat, villa or Hotel you can discover the “magic of the Egadi Islands”

Things to do in Favignana

Among lots of possible things to do at Favignana there are some in which you will surely want to do. Here below a list we suggest:

  • Bathe in the Crystal water of Cala Rossa, in the sea against the tuff, unique natural scenery.
  • Visit the caves of the local fishermen.
  • Take part in an adventurous excursion of sport fishing using all the techniques.
  • Sea diving in Toro shallow waters.
  • To see the sunset from Punta Sottile, and watch the sun disappear behind the lighthouse.
  • To see the panoramic view of the archipelago from the castle of Santa Caterina, the highest point of Favignana.
  • A guided visit to the ex Florio Establishment.
  • Visit the antic caves of tuff and the Ipogei Gardens.
  • Walking through the village, reaching the sea front.
  • Taste the local delicious just baked cakes or cassatine, cannoli or cassatelle.
  • To see the sun rise.
  • To listen to the tales about the “tonnara” and the “mattanza” told to you by the fishermen.
  • To do snorkeling.
  • To taste the frascarole, the cous cous and pasta made with lobster in a local restaurant.
  • Have a drink on a boat.
  • Enjoy laying in the sun at Cala Azzurra.
  • Diving from Bue Marino, Scalo Cavallo or Punta Fanfalo.
  • Take part in a party on the beach.
  • To spend the 15th August near a bonfire at Lido Burrone or at Pozzo.
  • Participate the Virgin Mary’s feast organized by the peasants known as the “Addominata”.
  • To buy fresh fish from the local fish market.
  • To eat the lobster of Egadi which has a delicate taste.
  • To eat different fish dishes made with tuna and sword fish.
  • To visit the mycological museum which houses beautiful seashells.
  • Take pictures.
  • To visit the archeological area of San Nicola.
  • Take long walks to the mountain to S. Caterina.
  • Take long bicycle rides.
  • To buy some souvenirs or sculptures made of tuff.
  • To take home typical products.
  • Go donkey riding up the mounting to Santa Caterina.