Imagine the most unbelievable blue water you have ever seen. Now, dial up the saturation of the color and you will get a sense of what the beaches of Favignana are like. Just off the west coast of Sicily and a short ferry ride from the city of Trapani, Favignana is one of three Egadi Islands. Favignana is dry, dusty, tiny, and quiet. At its busiest, Favignana might run out of places to park bicycles, and towel space at the beach could get creative, but this is what makes this pile of rock in the Mediterranean so idyllic.
For many years, the residents of Favignana relied on the robust tuna industry of the Mediterranean to make their living. With tuna fishing long since dried up, most of Favignana’s population is now seasonal and reliant on tourism, save for a few salty fisherman. Slowly, good restaurants and small boutique hotels are popping up on the island, making it the perfect getaway from seemingly busy Sicily.
We spent a few days here mid-way through our Sicilian road trip adventure and recall those days as the best of our trip. If you are contemplating a trip to Sicily, be sure to set aside some time for Favignana, for no good reason other than to swim in the sea.
Dimora Cala del Pozzo: Down a lonely dirt road, on the windswept north coast of the island, sits Dimora Cala del Pozzo, a true diamond in the rough. Opened this year in a restored home, the Dimora sits alone, just above the beach, where it commands an uninterrupted view of the sea below. With just a handful of rooms, the Dimora is surrounded by a lovely garden that encourages you to find peace and check out. Save for the occasional begging from the donkeys next-door, there is no noise and there are no neighbors.
Arriving at the Dimora is like being welcomed into the home of a friend. Stefania and Francesca, the women who run the place, are friendly hostesses as much as they are proprietors. No detail is left unattended, and as their guest, every wish is your command. Rooms at the Dimora are simply furnished with antiques, comfortable beds, and huge bathtubs. Our room upstairs had an amazing view of the gardens and the sea below. Exposed ceilings with the original patina of the ancient home gave us pause to reflect on its construction and the magnificent efforts it took to turn this place into a modern oasis.
A day at the Dimora is unforgettable....
Rise with the sun and wander down to the yoga pavilion for morning salutations, or sleep in and enjoy the cozy silence of your room. Breakfast and dinner are enjoyed family style with other guests in the outdoor dining room. In the morning, in addition to local melon and delicious pastries, the specialty of the house is warm sheep’s milk ricotta drizzled in local honey. Or, if you are looking for something heartier, scrambled eggs with ham can be whipped up in no time. Feel free to linger over one, two, or three cappuccinos, or make the most of the morning and hire a bicycle to make your way to the beach. Life on Favignana is whatever speed you want it to be.
In the evening, follow the path below the main house that takes you beyond the property to the beach. Stroll along the craggy shore, listen to the crashing waves, and watch the sun dip into the sea. After stretching your legs, return to the Dimora for an aperitif in the living room. Enjoy a perfect house Negroni or a bottle of Catarrato or Carricante, two exceptional varietals of white wine produced exclusively in Sicily. Linger over your cocktail as the sunset streaks in the windows, bathing the walls of the Dimora in hues of orange and yellow. Drinks are served with a fresh selection of fresh focaccia adorned with roasted tomatoes, eggplant, and local cheeses. With attention like this, it's hard to consider the prospect of moving from the cozy living room for dinner.
If you choose to eat dinner in, you will be treated to a home cooked, multi-course meal of local specialties. Eggplant is big in this part of the world; so don’t be surprised when it appears in different forms at every meal. Savor the treat of a perfect Eggplant Parmesan or a deliciously sweet and salty caponata. If you are lucky, one of the island's lingering fisherman has struck gold and hooked a bluefin tuna, bringing fresh tuna belly to the dinner table at the Dimora. Full from the meal, and several of glasses of wine later, new friendships that were formed enjoying an aperitif are cemented over a final glass of Amaro. The long table in the outdoor dining room twinkles with candles and conversation. It’s evenings like these that make you never want to go home.
If Dimora Cala del Pozzo is full, be sure to check out its sister property, Dimora dell’Olivastro.
ON THE SIDE
The water surrounding Favignana is truly the most beautiful I have ever seen. There isn’t much to do on Favignana - in a good way. Explore the island by bicycle and hit the beach! Whether you choose to make a circumference of the island, stopping at different coves, or decide to plant yourself in one spot for the entire day, you can’t go wrong. The most famous and most beautiful swimming spots are Cala Azzurra and Cala Rossa.
Tip: At Cala Rossa, be prepared for a hike down to the water, and the rocky coastline that one must navigate in order to sink into the sea. Water shoes, though horribly unfashionable, are recommended at Cala Rossa.
Ferry: Favignana is reached by regular ferry from Trapani via Liberty Lines. If you have a car, leave it parked in the neighborhood near the port and go to Favignana on foot.
Bicycle Rental: Once ashore, bicycles and scooters are available for rent all over the island. Try Noleggio Plaia just beyond the town square for reasonable rates and laid back service. Via Florio, 4/5. Note: Italians are weary of renting motor scooters to Americans. Apparently we have a reputation of not really knowing how to operate them.
When to go: The best time to visit Favignana is in the late spring and early fall when there are fewer tourists but the weather is very pleasant.
Whats to Come:
Sicily ★ 01.17
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