The Pelagie Islands are a protected area within the boundaries of the province of Agrigento (Italian:Area Marina Protetta Isola Pelagie). The total area covers 4,136 hectares on three islands: Lampedusa, Linosa and Lampione, which are geographically closer to Africa than to Sicily. Lampedusa is the largest of the three islands with a population of 6,000, while only 400 people live on Linosa and Lampione is uninhabited. The highest point of the three islands is in Linosa; it has volcanic origins and is accordingly named 1 Monte Vulcano (186 m).
The name "Pelagie Archipelago" (in Greek 'Pelaghiè', or 'Islands of the high seas'), betrays its origins of a Greek Mediterranean island. Phoenicians, Saracens, Romans and Greeks all presumably used the islands as landing places for Mediterranean crossings in ancient times. There are only echoes of this history as only very little archeological evidence is left. The name "Lampedusa" has uncertain origins. It probably derives from the effect that flashes of frequent thunderstorms in the Mediterranean had, that lit the island and made it visible far away for the sailors wandering on the sea.
Flora and fauna
Due to their geographical position in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea the Pelagie Islands are a place where flora and fauna of the warmer eastern waters and the western waters, influenced by the Atlantic currents, meet.
The maquis (typical Mediterranean vegetation) has disappeared. Nowadays, the most common form of the steppe vegetation is undergrowth with daffodil (Asteraceae) and squill (Scilla). The vegetation on the coast is characterized by vast fields of sea lavender (Limonium lopadusanum). A jewel is the Caralluma europaea, a North African plant that looks like a cactus and in Europe only occurs on Lampedusa and in the south of Spain. The North African cornflower (Centaurea acaulis) thrives on Lampedusa.
The fauna of Lampedusa are clearly influenced by North Africa. So there is the whip snake (Coluber) and the lizard Psammodromus algrius on Conigli. On the rocks nest the Eleonora's falcon (Falco eleonorae), the Barbary falcon (Falco pelegrinoides), the rare crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax aristotelis) and the yellow-legged gull (Larus michahellis). There are a great variety of insects such as the Pamphagus ortolaniae, a large grasshopper without wings, and the beetle Julodis onopordi. On the beach of Conigli the sea turtle Caretta caretta lays her eggs in early summer. Tourism is a serious threat to the survival of this animal.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
The Pelagie Islands experience an arid climate year-round. Rain is an event, and the desert conditions assure constant days of glorious sunshine in all seasons. Temperatures of 35°C are common from May to October. From November to April the weather is milder, although still generally warm, and generally experiences day temperatures from 17°C to 25°C.
Lampedusa is rocky and flat and has an area of 21 km², a circumference of 33.3 km and reaches a maximum height (133m) in Albero del Sole where you can see the islet Lampione. On a protected bay is Lampedusa, the capital of the Pelagie Islands with about 6,000 inhabitants. There are many boats in the harbor because fishing is the main source of income. Further along the coves are mainly small towns like Cala Greca, Cala Galera and Cala Pulcino. On the south side is the small island Coniglio where you can wade towards through the crystal clear water. Here is spiaggia Coniglio, the best beach on the island. It can be quite busy in summer. You can rent beach chairs and umbrellas. From Lampedusa harbor you can make boat trips. From 10:00 you can leave for about a seven-hour sailing trip to various caves and coves. The tour passes Tabacarra Bay, where the water is turquoise. On the north side are high cliffs and deep caves.
Linosa is a small volcanic island of just over 5 km². It consists of black rocks, formed by basalt, with a small village built on. The village consists of a number of pastel houses around the harbor. There are three craters on the quadrangular shaped island: Mt. Rosso, Mt. Nero, and Mt. Vulcan with a height of 195 meters. On Linosa is very little to do. Here people come for their rest or to dive. From the harbor boat trips are offered. You will sail to Fili. These are large rocks in the sea where a natural pool is created. After Fili you will pass all sorts of breathtaking cliffs and rocks. Later you'll pass another beach, called Cala Pozzolana. This beach is walled by steep cliffs of different colours.
Lampione is a small uninhabited island with steep cliffs. On the island is a lighthouse. Lampione is a protected nature reserve. The underwater flora and fauna are spectacular, so it is a paradise for divers. On Lampedusa you can book a dive tour to the island. The Lampione waters are a habitat for many sharks. Even the great white shark can be found here.
- Famularo Pasqualino, via Terranova, Lampedusa, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Canned mackerel and all kinds of local packed fish.
- [dead link] La Flora, P.zza Marconi 10, Lampedusa, ☏ . Aromas, flavors and Lampedusa liqueurs.
In Lampedusa all the restaurants and pizzerias are at a good level of quality, and the prices are about the same as in the rest of Italy. Fish is always fresh and very tasty. Some pizzerias do not prepare other dishes besides pizza, so ask if you want something else.
- La Risacca, Via E. La Loggia, Lampedusa, ☏ .
- Mascari Anna, 1 Via Vittorio Veneto, Linosa, ☏ .
Regaleali is one of Sicily's most famous white wines and is recommended with fish dishes. Donna Fugata can also be a good choice. The price for a quality white wine is €12-15 in a restaurant and €7-10 in supermarkets and shops.
- La Roccia, 84 Via Madonna, Lampedusa, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Camp site close to Lampedusa town.
- Hotel Luagos Club, 1 Via del Mediterraneo, Lampedusa, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Sun terrace and swimming pool.
- Hotel Le Pelagie, Via Giulio Bonfiglio, Lampedusa, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Modern hotel in the center of Lampedusa town.
- Residencia La Posta, Vicola Pisa 3, Linosa, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Bed & Breakfast in Linosa.
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