Favignana, Sicily

© Giovanni Caruso

Favignana, the biggest of the Egadi islands, got its name from the favonio, the warm east wind. It is green with luxuriant Mediterranean maquis vegetation which resists even the extreme heat of the summer months. Beloved of poets and men of letters, it is a busy but unchaotic tourist destination.

Favignana is a flat island with strong traditions such as the spectacular and somewhat violent mattanza dei tonni, the traditional tuna cull. This is a land of ancient culinary traditions and great fishing in a well stocked Mediterranean sea just to the south of the island. Its history is a long one stretching back several thousand years and its people have very deep roots on an island whose riches were once commercial and linked to its sandstone and tufa quarries.

Monte Santa Caterina, a 300 metre high hill in the Egadi Park, is great for walkers but there is a huge range of things to do for nature lovers on the island. Land and sea, green and blue merge in breathtaking views along the whole coast from the sheer overhanging Punta Faraglione to the Cala Rossa and Punta Ferro cliffs.

Favignana – the town

The first thing you notice when you land on Favignana is elegant Villa Florio, a manor house dating to 1800 and the symbol of the powerful Florio family which ruled the island for the whole of the nineteenth century. The old centre, Rione Sant’Anna dating to 1600, is worth a visit for its narrow streets and picturesque tufa houses and the fragrant underground gardens that are scattered around the town.

But it is not only the modern town that it is interesting. Favignana is also an important archaeological site with its neolithic cave villages built into the grottoes near Cala San Nicola and up the slopes of Mt. Caterina.

Favignana – beaches and bays

Cala Azzurra and Lido Burrone are the island’s two sandy beaches. Otherwise Favignana is cliffs and rocks. There is an easy-to-get-to section of low coastline beyond the sheer cliffs of Punta Faraglione in the direction of the Punta Ferro headland. Cala del Pozzo, famous for its many archaeological remains, is here overlooking one of the richest fishing areas of the coast and Secca del Pozzo. Don’t miss Cala Grande, surrounded by the island’s pinewoods, traditionally considered to have been the place where Odysseus landed.