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Their name, of greek origin, literally translates as ‘High-Sea Islands’. They lie about 200km off the coast of Agrigento, between Malta and Tunisia. The archipelago comprises Lampedusa, the main island with a surface area of 33 square kilometres, and the two smaller Linosa and Lampione. The latter, desert and only accommodating a lighthouse, with its steep walls plunging to 60m depth and uncontaminated sea-floors, is a real paradise for divers and snorkelers.


The island of Lampedusa consists of a flat limestone platform which culminates, at the northern end, in a series of dramatic cliffs. The south coast, on the other hand, is jaggedly rugged as headlands alternate with small, precipitous creeks sheltering sandy beaches.

Closer to Africa than it is to Italy, the island is surrounded by a spectacular seascape, with incredible colors ranging from transparent-blue, to turquoise and emerald-green. On the island there is no farming activity, its soil being white, dry and stony, much alike a desert. The residents mostly live on tourism and fishing, as a considerable flight anchored at its sheltered harbor will testify. Discoveries across the territory attest to human settlements on Lampedusa dating from the Bronze Age. In 1843, the island belonged to the aristocratic Lampedusa family (one of its members, Giuseppe Tomasi, was the author of the celebrated novel The Leopard) and was successively acquired by King Ferdinand who had a penitentiary built and sent a handful of people to reside there.

A Submerged World

Lampedusa is a paradise for snorkelers and divers who can enjoy a rich and unspoiled submerged world inhabited by corals, sponges, madrepores, the colored parrot-fish and, by Capo Grecale at only 50m depth, the lobster. Its mostly sandy sea-ground suddenly turns into a dark-green due to the posidonia, a marine plant that is known as the Mediterranean lung for its releasing oxygen in the water, giving life to beautiful underwater plains.

The only city on Lampedusa, bearing the island’s same name, develops around the main Roma street, notably crowded at breakfast time and at night, it hosting a cluster of shops and cafés with outdoor tables, where, in the summer, live music or entertainment shows take place.

Circumnavigation of the Island

A boat tour of the island can be easily reserved at the harbor where lots of boats are available at cheap prices. The tour usually departs at 10.00am and returns at 5.00pm.

The low and jagged coast of Lampedusa is rich in inlets and bays; among these, is the Tabaccara, a splendid bay bathed by turquoise waters. The northern shore features a high cliff with plenty of impressing caves. Past the Baia della Madonnina (that got its name because of a rock that resembles the Virgin Mary) is the Sacramento Cliff, with a deepest grotto. In the North-Eastern end, known as Capo Grecale, is a lighthouse visible from up to 60 miles away, where extends a beautiful view of the coastal landscape. Then is the Grotta del Teschio (the Skull Grotto), hiding a 15m long sandy-beach, reachable by boat or along a rough path at right. Tourists are advised to hire a bike or a mini-truck for a driving tour since roads of the island are partly unpaved. From the centre of Lampedusa head eastwards for the airport. The unpaved road running alongside the landing strip passes by the many bays on the Southern side of the Island.

Albero del Sole – (the Sun Tree) So is called the highest point on Lampedusa (about 133m a.s.l.), where stands a circular structure preserving a wooden crucifix. There, from a stone wall at the edge of a steep slope, you can enjoy a dramatic sight of the sea. Tourists are recommended to be extremely careful when near the edge. Returning to the semi-asphalted road you will see an area of recent reafforestation. At the end of the enclosing wall, follow the path soon leading to a small iron cross. On your right, a promontory offers an enchanting view of the Sacramento Cliff. From here, the small Lampione Island is visible, on the left, in the distance. Return to the main road and continue southward to the Rabbit Island’s Bay.

Bay of the Isola dei Conigli – This broad bay is petticoated with white cliffs and the most beautiful beach on the island; few metres offshore nestles a little islet. The beach, with its finest sand, gently slopes to transparent waters that splendidly turn to turquoise and emerald green. Here the Caretta-Caretta turtle lays her eggs during the breeding season, an event today threatened by the big influx of tourists staying late at night when she usually comes ashore for nesting.

Further, here is the only habitat in Italy for the psammodromus algarus, a particular type of striped lizard native to North-Western Africa, namely Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.

Madonna di Porto Salvo – It is a small shrine of ancient unknown date and origin surrounded by a beautiful garden.


How to reach Lampedusa – The simplest way to reach Lampedusa is by plane, it being well-served by connections from Palermo and, in the summer months, by directs flights from Milan, Bergamo, Rome, Venice and Verona. A ferry service is also available from Agrigento. Since this arrives late at night, tourists may encounter problems to overnight, unless they have or hire a vehicle.

What to buy – The island’s natural sponges are a favorite souvenir for tourists. Whiter sponges, albeit attracting, may result from a chemical treatment that shortens their life span. The darker ones will definitely last longer. Linosa is especially renowned for food “souvenirs”, like lentils and pomodorini, and for its reed-baskets, much appreciated by tourists.

And for dinner? – On the island are many small restaurants and trattorias specialized in fish dishes, among which is a not-to-miss couscous. The Trattoria-Pizzeria Da Nicola, by the Rabbit Islands’s Bay is especially recommended.


Linosa is a pleasant volcanic island – hence its dark-grey color – with three lofty cones that show a striking contrast with the intense blue of the sky. The volcanoes, now extinct, give the island a fairly sinister look. The only town consists of a collection of lovely pastel-colored homes grouped around the island’s small harbor. Tourists can enjoy excursions to the peaks or fascinating boating tours. Its scanty population, once largely living by cattle-breeding, today is mostly engaged in tourism-related businesses. The Vulcano Mount, measuring 186 metres, is the island’s tallest peak. The interior, mainly desert, features only a few cultivated grounds, notably the so-called Fossa del Cappellano that is well-sheltered from winds. Bordered by lava basalt jagged rocks, Linosa is considered a paradise for divers and seawatchers who can enjoy richest wildlife and vegetation (See Lampedusa, A Submerged World)

The Caretta-Caretta (Loggerhead Sea Turtle)

This peaceful creature, solitary throughout the year except for the breeding season, lives in most temperate waters and nests every two or three years. It comes ashore at night, digs a nest (between 40 and 75cm) and soon covers it by using her hind flippers. This task accomplished, she makes her way back to the sea. The clutch, mostly lost to predators, hatches in a period between six and eight weeks. The hatchlings are a favorite food of birds and humans. Once out to the sea, they become a prey of fishes, who much appreciate their tender meat. In 1978, the loggerhead was listed as a threatened species. Pollution, habitat loss and pesticides are major reasons for its decline. The loggerhead shares the same threats that menace all marine turtles.

With its wide sandy beach, the Rabbit Island’s Bay is a major nesting place for the loggerhead. The WWF Lampedusa Caretta Caretta Turtle Center was recently established, coordinated by Daniela Freggi and involving the activity of young students. For information about joining or supporting it or for any enquiry please call the following mobile phone no. 338 2198533.

At Linosa, the black and warmer sandy beach of Gaia Pozzolana di Ponente sees a majority of female hatchlings, due to the higher (above 30° C) temperature of its sand. Temperatures under thirty degrees produce nearly all male hatchlings. The Hydrosphera Rehabilitation Center, centred on the Island of Linosa, have conducted interesting studies on the loggerhead thanks to help from volunteers coming from across the world. The center is equipped to provide emergency service. The two centers on Lampedusa and Linosa form part of a broader National project on sea turtles curated by the Department of Animal and Human Biology at the La Sapienza University of Rome.

The island’s wildlife include a remarkable number of Maltese Wall Lizards and Shearwaters, a type of aquatic bird renowned for his melancholic singing. The black sandy beach of Gaia Pozzolana is a significant loggerhead nesting beach. Lovers of walking excursions can stroll about the amazing paths leading to the three major peaks of the island, namely the Red Mount, whose crater is covered with cultivations, the Black Mount and the Vulcano Mount, from whose top cars in Lampedusa are clearly visible when the wind blows from the South-West.

Boating tour of the Island – Boat tours can be scheduled at the island’s harbor. The ride departs from the harbor, and heads for the Fili, big offshore rocks that form a natural swimming pool, bounded, ashore, by an impressive rocky cliff eroded by atmospheric agents. Shifting waters and caper bushes are the main features of the landscape. Past these rocks, there is a sight of the lighthouse lying on an enchanting coastal strip. Towards the end of the tour is Cala Pozzolana, a beach enclosed by steep rocky walls with colors varying from yellow to red. This is the landing point for the ferry from Lampedusa.


Lampione is a desert islet of the Pelagian archipelago. Landmarked by a lighthouse and steep cliffs plunging to 60m depth, Lampione has a pristine environment and uncontaminated sea-floors. Its richest underwater flora and fauna make it a real paradise for divers and snorkelers.



Alessandria Della Rocca
Campobello Di Licata
Cattolica Eraclea
Joppolo Giancaxio
Lucca Sicula
Palma di Montechiaro
Porto Empedocle
Sambuca Di Sicilia
San Biagio Platani
San Giovanni Gemini
Sant'angelo Muxaro
S. Margherita di Belice
Santa Elisabetta
S. Stefano di Quisquina
Villafranca Sicula


Isole Pelagie
Eraclea Minoa
Valle Dei Templi
Monte Kronio
Casa Natale Luigi Pirandello

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