Aside from the magnificent sea, Ustica houses interesting details that certainly will not disappoint the visitor. The center of the town is located on the north-eastern side of the island: here the houses are low; all gathered around the three squares in the center and in some of them you can still see some form of murals. From the town it is easy to walk to the ancient ruins of the Saracen castle.
At the center of the island is the summit of the volcano, Guardia dei Turchi, 244 meters from sea level, where you can behold a beautiful panorama, three hundred and sixty degree view across Ustica. It will also be unforgettable to explore Ustica along the paths that branch among the expanses of prickly pears, vines, and vegetables, which cover the 9 km of green surface on this wonderful island.
Lovers of diving could hardly ever find a more suitable location than Ustica. The coast of pure rock line offers caves and hidden coves where you will not be able to help yourself from visiting the transparent waters ranging from turquoise to blue to dark blue depending on the time of day.
For those who prefer lying comfortably to sunbathe, there are the beaches: Cala Sidoli and Calettain the northern part of the island while on the eastern side is Cala Faro, a little to the north of the ruins of the Saracen castle. Further south, however, Spalombatore Punta and Punta Cavazzi in deserve a swim, where the particular shape of the rock forms a real natural swimming pool of sea water.
Due to the large number of shipwrecks further out at sea, amphoras and historical artifacts of various kinds have been organized in the Underwater Archaeological Museum.
By boat you will be able to discover the most beautiful places of the island.
The grotto dell’Acqua, better known as the Blue Grotta, has a huge entrance, in which the sunlight reflects off the blue sea coloring the entire inner environment. A figure similar to a pyramid formed by stalagmites secular in this cave captivates the attention, while another part is connected to the Cave of San Francesco Vecchio. Continuing south, you come to the Grotto of Pastizza, in front of which there is an ominous stack. Continuing to the south, you come to the Grotto of Segreta, the largest on the island. On the west side is the Scoglio del Medico which is the perfect place for diving: groupers and barracudas swim undisturbed around this small promontory sea, where the depth reaches about 40 meters.
Instead, further north, Secca Colombara is another ideal place to explore the depths: here the encounters with schools of fish of considerable size are frequent and it will not be too difficult to spot shrimp and lobsters.
Historical Background of Ustica
Ustica has been inhabited since ancient times. Archaeological findings trace the presence of man since the second millennium BC which was followed by settlements of the Phoenicians and the Romans. In the hands of the Saracens from the eighth century AD, (of which there are only a few remains of a castle in the eastern part of the island) it had come under the control of the Normans.
Its isolated position with respect to Sicily made it easy prey for pirates who ravaged it several times. Only during the Bourbon period, the system of fortifications was able to stand up to foreign incursions. In this period and during the Fascist period it was used as a site of exile for political opponents of the regime.
Today, the small population of Ustica is based on fishing and agriculture, during the summer they are happy to welcome tourists who go there to enjoy the sea, the sun, and all the serenity that this island has to offer.