Pantelleria island – the Black Pearl of the Mediterranean

Located to the south of the westernmost tip of Sicily, you will find the island of Pantelleria. Known as the Black Pearl of the Mediterranean, the island is composed almost entirely of black volcanic rock. It was also the first place the Arabs stopped at when they invaded the Sicilian Island back in the 8th century.

The island of Pantelleria is not part of any archipelago, but rather exists as a sole volcanic island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. Most of the more than fifty kilometer coastlines of Pantelleria are rocky.

Pantelleria, Sicily, Italy
Pantelleria, Sicily, Italy by Gino Roncaglia

The gentle sea breeze can be felt all over the island which just makes visiting the place even more attractive.

A multitude of civilizations have lived along the shores of Pantelleria over the millennia. The island has been home to the Phoenicians and the Romans, the Arabs as well as the Spanish. Each civilization has left its mark on the culture of the island today.

Dammuso, Pantelleria, Sicily, Italy
Dammuso, Pantelleria, Sicily, Italy by Michael Leithold

Most of the homes on the island have been built in the same manner since the 10th century. Known as Dammusi, these homes are built using locally quarried lava stone and also feature roofs that are domed.

Thanks to the thickness of the exterior walls and their pumice composition, the interior of the homes are quite cool even in the hottest months of the summer. Composed of the same material that can be found throughout the island, the Dammusi literally blend into the landscape.

Pantelleria island, Sicily, Italy
Pantelleria, Sicily, Italy by Luca Conti

The inner portions of the island are covered with walls of lava rock and there are several volcanoes that can be found on the island. It is here that one will find the La Montagna Grande.

This national park is home to the largest peak on the island that rises more than 836 meters above sea level. Along the northeastern foothills of the mountain, you will find the thermal lake of Lago Specchio di Venere.

Lago Specchio di Venere, Pantelleria, Sicily, Italy
Lago Specchio di Venere, Pantelleria by Goldmund100

Cliffs can be found along most of the island’s coastline with some cliffs rising as much as three-hundred meters above the sea. You will find countless caves and grottos all around the island of Pantelleria. One of the most notable geological features of the island is known as the Elephant.

Because of its distance from any real mainland, the seas that surround Pantelleria Island are pristine. You will find many of the Mediterranean marine life that cannot be seen anywhere else in the region. The monk seals are perhaps the most notable of these rare species.

Crystal clear sea around Pantelleria, Sicily, Italy
Crystal clear sea around Pantelleria, Sicily, Italy by Gino Roncaglia

There are several hotels as well as restaurants that can be found on the island. Because of its remote location, the island literally has everything one needs to enjoy a long and extended holiday under the Mediterranean sun.

Thanks to the blend of cultures on Pantelleria, the food is quite amazing; especially when washed down with a locally made wine.

Byzantine tombs in the area of Mueggen, Pantelleria, Sicily, Italy
Byzantine tombs in the area of Mueggen, Pantelleria, Sicily by Gino Roncaglia

You can get to Pantelleria via Pantelleria Airport or by ferries from Trapani.

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