Pantelleria: Sicily’s secret island
The island of Pantelleria is one of the Mediterranean’s least-known holiday spots. Little more than a black speck in the sea between Sicily and Tunisia. Pantelleria is a single black rock where the sirocco can blow in so fiercely from Africa that the tiny planes landing from Sicily are tied down overnight to stop the wind shunting them down the runway.
No doubt this is mostly because Pantelleria is not a destination for beach-lovers. Swimming is mostly off rocks; the island’s only “beach” is inland, made of mud. Discerning Italians who frequent Pantelleria rent boats from the whitewashed village of Scauri and head to the Nika grotto, where tinglingly hot spring water rises through the sea shallows, or drift beneath the soaring, multicoloured volcanic cliffs at Saltalamacchia.