Pantelleria is freckled of little cubical buildings, the dammusi, low buildings with few settings, clear sign of Arabic domination which here settled for over two centuries. From the roof, the dome shows up, which is used to stabilize the building in case of earthquakes but especially to mitigate the building temperature, taking advantage of upward motions of hot air.
In the west north part of the island there are the famous “Sesi”, funerary temples of prehistorical population who lived in Pantelleria. Today they are about thirty, built with massive blocks of molten rock placed to shape the typical circular buildings. Within them, some spaces, dedicated to deceased, were obtained. Some researchers believe that here also characteristic rituals were performed, wherein deceased’s family, thanks to unusual gloom and herb, tried to get in touch with their beloved’s soul.
In the town of Pantelleria is even visible the “Castello di Barbacane” (Barbacane castle), built by Spanish during the fortification action of the island.
The rocky coast and the lack of sandy seashores let have a clear transparent sea, with a different graduated shading on the strength of the area. Many beach places are reachable by foot, but if you prefer to enjoy some exclusive place, it’s not a bad idea to rent a boat.
The inside of Pantelleria has got fantastic mountain features, it is full of vegetation and natural routes which earn an half day excursion at least. The higher top, the “Montegna Grande”, exceeds 800 metres: hence you can get a glimps of a panorama on the island.
In lower heights there are “Monte Cibele” (Cibele mount), an out volcanic cone by now and “Piana Ghirlanda” (garland plane), a little upland which is covered in greenery. From “Kuddia Mida”, at about 500 metres from the sea level, there is an amazing view towards the “Lago di Venere” (Venus lake), and in days wherein there isn’t too hot and the view is very clear, you can see also “Capo Mustafà” in Tunisia.
Finally you cannot miss secondary volcanic phenomenon, like the dry bath and mineral spring, which are the reason so the old noble Roman decided to go to Pantelleria. A clear example of dry bath is in Saibi place: big jet of water vapor which goes in the cavern. But the sources are on the coast, in the southern part of the island: the water can exceed 50 Centigrade.
Historical Background of Pantelleria
Prehistoric population left clear marks of their past passed in the island: for example the “sesi”, curious circular building wherein the deceased were situated. Population of this period came in the island in search of “Ossidiana”, a sharp volcanic stone very important during the all old period. Pantelleria was colonized by the Phoenician, who made it an important seaport for all Sicily routes.
For the same reason the Carthaginian raced to conquer the island. Become Roman in 255 a.C. then the island was populated by different Christian colonies. Many marks remained from the Arabic period, for example names, of Middle Eastern origin, agriculture methods, up till the “dammusi”, typical short building of Pantelleria. In the following centuries Saracen pirates often got this island as a robbery land, leaving behind victims and ruins.
In the end of the nineteenth century it happened the last significant eruption which affected Pantelleria, with its opening situated about 5 km from the island. In the Second World War, Pantelleria was outpost of German soldieries and for this reason was bombarded hardly from the Anglo-American soldiers: among all the building presents in the island, only a few of them kept.