Pietro Ienca

Marettimo, the wildest and most unspoiled Egadi Island! Crystal clear waters to swim in and paths to explore

On the Sicilian western coast, there are three islands, Favignana, Levanzo and Marettimo; all together they make the Egadi archipelago. The smallest island between the three is Marettimo, however, is probably the one that hides the most amazing surprises.

We had the chance to spend a few amazing days there, walking around the island and getting in touch with the locals. Visiting this place during the winter season, gave us the possibility to appreciate it in all its beauty and authenticity. It’s well known that these islands are a real attraction during the summertime: in fact, is unbelievable to think that during the worm season the inhabitants grow to 2000 people; while during most of the year there’s only a small community of 80 islanders. This is caused by the fact that there’s no touristic organisation, a lack that leads to have tourists only during summer, in a competitive and unsustainable environment. This trip wants to be a way to show the real potential of this island; so, we are going to try to give you a taste of what we lived.

On the 13th of January we approached for the first time the little port of Marettimo. It was quite early in the morning, but the sun was already warm, lighting up the white houses of the little town on the sea. The light of this Mediterranean places, makes everything look better, starting from the colours, that are bright and much more intense. We immediately started our walk to our first destination: Punta Troia. This place is a small hill, connect to the main island through a thin “bridge” of land. The area is famous for the castle on the top of the cape and for being a good spot to sight the monk seals (once it was common to see these animals around the island, but now it appends very rarely). The Mediterranean bush in Marettimo is very wild, in fact a lot of indigenous animal species live undisturbed, like the Bonelli eagle; we had the chance to see a group of mouflons, running down the hills.

Our next goal of the day was the lighthouse of Marettimo. We had to walk all the southern track to get there. This side of island gave us the possibility to enjoy some amazing views, including an incredible sunset on the sea. We couldn’t go farther because the whole western part of the island is a nature reserve without any marked trail.

After coming back from the trail later that day, we were starving! So, we started looking for a place where to eat, but we soon understood it wasn’t going to be that easy. Everything was closed, and the town was desert, except for a group of fishermen seated next to the pier. We were going to ask them if there was any chance to reach some food, but as soon as we approached them, we found ourselves in their car, and the next stop was one of their houses. They have been our hosts for the night, offering us an amazing dinner, made with some of the freshest fishes we ever eat. The fishing products of Marettimo are well known to be very good, because the island is pretty much in the open sea, far away from the polluted areas. We spent the night eating and talking with the fishermen about their work in the sea, sharing wisdom and knowledge of an ancient tradition.

In the inner part of the island there are a bunch of mountains, between which the highest one is Pizzo Falcone, 672m. The day after the amazing dinner at the fishermen house, we decided to walk all the way to the peak of Marettimo. Our hike started very early in the morning and on our way through Pizzo Falcone, we had the chance to see an ancient roman archaeological site, a testimony of an historical life on the island, also proved by some abandoned terraces, probably used for food production ( like olive oil, wine, or even for grazing the animals). We also found out that the island has a lot of natural springs, that probably explains the civilization on the island; however, nowadays the little town of Marettimo, doesn’t use the water of the island, instead, they get it from private companies from the main land.

When we finally got on the top of Pizzo Falcone, we were speechless. The view from there, showed us all the beauty of Marettimo, of an untouched land, where humans are still able to respect nature, living in synergy with it.

After seeing this, we strongly believe that this should represent the real strength of this island, that should be enhanced and understood, aiming to create an organized, and sustainable tourism during the whole year.