The Nature Reserve - Pantelleria
In the province of Trapani there is an island more close to Africa rather than to Sicily, a paradise of colors, flavors and fragrances, with harsh and strong landscapes.
It is wonderful particularly for the contrast between the colors and atmospheres: you can admire the green of the valleys and the vineyards, the blue of the limpid sea, the anthracite of the lava flows, the gold of the zibibbo grapes, the white of the dammusi and the azure of the sky that close in on everything.
There are many paradisiac coves, jets of steam and hot springs confirming its volcanic origin, and the Mirror of Venus, a lake whose name is already very fascinating. There are also many vineyards that goodness knows why people have always preferred to fishing. The dammusi, a characteristic building of the island, attests to the presence of Arabs there. They are quadrangular with a domed roof and very thick walls to protect from the sunrays.
The center of town is quite different from compared with how it was in the past because of the heavy bombing during the last world war. But the island is very large and one kilometer beyond... it seems to be in another world !
The Reserve cover the area from the center of the island where there is the Montagna Grande to the coast. The main relief is surrounded by smaller volcanic rises, the so-called "cuddie". Thanks to them Pantelleria now exist. The variety of the environment derives from the overlapping of several lava flows in different times.
The northern area derived from the volcanic eruption more recent, as a matter of fact it is made of fluid lava flows. This is also the reason why reason the landscape is characterised by uniform slopes with few volcanic cones here and there.
The centre-northern area is characterised by a kind of natural beauty farm thanks to the Mirror of Venus with its sulphureous mud and a lot of hot springs. There are a lot of things to see, to experience, to eat on the island. There are inumerables magnificent landscapes. Here in the past centuries many men and different cultures lived and left traces of them that arrived until us.
You can visit the Neolithic graves of those people who came from Tunisia and the Balata dei Turchi where were defeated some pirates, and much more. The names of the contrade (quarters) come from Arabic. Goodness knows which one is the memory that each tourist keeps in his mind after visiting a place like that, so far away from the rest of the world !
How to get there
By sea - From Trapani www.usticalines.it - www.siremar.it or www.traghettidelleisole.it. From Mazara del Vallo www.usticalines.it
By plane - From different Italian airports: choose the closest one !
Regional body that deals with Forests - Distaccamento forestale
C/da Sibá, Pantelleria
Tel: 0923 916524
FLORA & FAUNA
Flora – The vegetation of Pantelleria consists of 600 different species. You can find the Ilex, the Lentisk, the Cluster-pine, the red berries of the Strawberry-tree and the dark ones of the Myrtle, the Phillyrea, an evergreen shrub with a very strong scent, the Rue, one meter and a half high evergreen shrub, the Cistus with common pink flowers, the Erica Arborea e Multiflora with a upright shaft, the Oleaster and the smelling Rosemary. Two varieties of Limonium (cosyrense and parviflorium), the Helicrysum errerae, a perennial bush that grows also in dry and steep soils, and the Medicago truncatula var. cosyrensis belonging to the leguminous family are some of the endemic species of the territory.
Fauna – Thanks to its special position between Africa and Sicily, Pantelleria is an ideal leg for all the species of migratory birds that move between Europe and Africa. There you can find the rare Eleonora's Falcon, a very elegant bird of prey with a red feathering, the Black kite, a bird of prey flying very high, the Buzzard with broad wings and a variegated plumage, the Thrush, a small passerine bird, the Woodcock, the Turtledove, the Kestrel and the Peregrin.
The Mirror of Venus is frequented by a lot of water fowls such as Ducks, Limicolous, different species of Herons and Flamingos. Sometimes you can also find Great crested grebe, Cranes, Storks and Spoonbill, recognizable by their peculiar peak. The Blue tit is an endemic species of the island. You can see it near the Montagna Grande.
The most characteristic animal of the island is the Donkey of Pantelleria that comes from crossbreeds between African and Sicilian breeds. It is a tireless worker, sought-after for its strength, longevity, walking speed and balance even in the more impassable paths.