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Pantelleria is the southernmost Italian island in the Mediterranean. It is 110 km from the Sicilian coast and only 70 km from Capo Mustafà in Tunisia. Formerly called Cossyra, the island was formed by an initial volcanic eruption 200,000 years ago, then reshaped by continuous landslides, the last one around 49,000 years ago. The nature of the soil can be discerned in all the secondary volcanic features scattered throughout the various districts. In addition to a number of natural hot springs, you will also come across favare, which are jets of water vapour that are hot to the point of boiling. In addition, there are dry baths or stoves, i.e., caves from which steam escapes, buvire, which are pools of brackish water and mofette, which are carbon dioxide vents. The only beach on the island is actually the shores of the Lago di Venere. The other sea access points vary in their degree of difficulty. However, your efforts will always be rewarded with a dip in the beautiful, crystal-clear water. Partly because of the constant threats that came from the sea, with frequent pirate raids, Pantelleria has always been an unusual island, geared more towards agriculture than fishing. In 860 AD, a colony of Sicilian Muslim farmers began planting the zibibbo or Moscato d’Alessandria grape. This grape variety is used to make one of Sicily’s finest wines, the Passito di Pantelleria. The island’s other great plant resource is the caper, the only one to have obtained European status as a Protected Geographical Identification (PGI) and which, at these latitudes, grows wild everywhere.


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