Favignana
Overview
 
Favignana is a comune
Comune
In Italy, the comune is the basic administrative division, and may be properly approximated in casual speech by the English word township or municipality.-Importance and function:...

including three islands (Favignana, Marettimo and Levanzo) of the Aegadian Islands
Aegadian Islands
The Aegadian Islands , are a group of small mountainous islands in the Mediterranean Sea off the northwest coast of Sicily, Italy, near the city of Trapani, with a total area of ....

, southern Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. It is situated approximately 7 km west of the coast of Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

, between Trapani
Trapani
Trapani is a city and comune on the west coast of Sicily in Italy. It is the capital of the Province of Trapani. Founded by Elymians, the city is still an important fishing port and the main gateway to the nearby Egadi Islands.-History:...

 and Marsala
Marsala
Marsala is a seaport city located in the Province of Trapani on the island of Sicily in Italy. The low coast on which it is situated is the westernmost point of the island...

, the coastal area where the Stagnone Lagoon
Stagnone Lagoon
The Stagnone Lagoon is a part of Mediterranean Sea in front of Marsala City ; the Lagoon is delimited by an island called Isola Lunga because of its geographical long form....

 and the international airport of Trapani, are sited.

The island is famous for its tuna
Tuna
Tuna is a salt water fish from the family Scombridae, mostly in the genus Thunnus. Tuna are fast swimmers, and some species are capable of speeds of . Unlike most fish, which have white flesh, the muscle tissue of tuna ranges from pink to dark red. The red coloration derives from myoglobin, an...

 fisheries and is now a popular tourist destination with frequent hydrofoil
Hydrofoil
A hydrofoil is a foil which operates in water. They are similar in appearance and purpose to airfoils.Hydrofoils can be artificial, such as the rudder or keel on a boat, the diving planes on a submarine, a surfboard fin, or occur naturally, as with fish fins, the flippers of aquatic mammals, the...

 connections to the mainland.
In ancient times Favignana was called Aegusa, meaning "goats' island".
Encyclopedia
Favignana is a comune
Comune
In Italy, the comune is the basic administrative division, and may be properly approximated in casual speech by the English word township or municipality.-Importance and function:...

including three islands (Favignana, Marettimo and Levanzo) of the Aegadian Islands
Aegadian Islands
The Aegadian Islands , are a group of small mountainous islands in the Mediterranean Sea off the northwest coast of Sicily, Italy, near the city of Trapani, with a total area of ....

, southern Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. It is situated approximately 7 km west of the coast of Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

, between Trapani
Trapani
Trapani is a city and comune on the west coast of Sicily in Italy. It is the capital of the Province of Trapani. Founded by Elymians, the city is still an important fishing port and the main gateway to the nearby Egadi Islands.-History:...

 and Marsala
Marsala
Marsala is a seaport city located in the Province of Trapani on the island of Sicily in Italy. The low coast on which it is situated is the westernmost point of the island...

, the coastal area where the Stagnone Lagoon
Stagnone Lagoon
The Stagnone Lagoon is a part of Mediterranean Sea in front of Marsala City ; the Lagoon is delimited by an island called Isola Lunga because of its geographical long form....

 and the international airport of Trapani, are sited.

The island is famous for its tuna
Tuna
Tuna is a salt water fish from the family Scombridae, mostly in the genus Thunnus. Tuna are fast swimmers, and some species are capable of speeds of . Unlike most fish, which have white flesh, the muscle tissue of tuna ranges from pink to dark red. The red coloration derives from myoglobin, an...

 fisheries and is now a popular tourist destination with frequent hydrofoil
Hydrofoil
A hydrofoil is a foil which operates in water. They are similar in appearance and purpose to airfoils.Hydrofoils can be artificial, such as the rudder or keel on a boat, the diving planes on a submarine, a surfboard fin, or occur naturally, as with fish fins, the flippers of aquatic mammals, the...

 connections to the mainland.

History

In ancient times Favignana was called Aegusa, meaning "goats' island". The present name is derived from Favonio, an Italian name for the foehn wind. It was colonised by the Phoenicians, who used it as a stopping point on their trans-Mediterranean trading routes.

The island was fought over during the First Punic War
First Punic War
The First Punic War was the first of three wars fought between Ancient Carthage and the Roman Republic. For 23 years, the two powers struggled for supremacy in the western Mediterranean Sea, primarily on the Mediterranean island of Sicily and its surrounding waters but also to a lesser extent in...

 between Rome
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 and Carthage
Carthage
Carthage , implying it was a 'new Tyre') is a major urban centre that has existed for nearly 3,000 years on the Gulf of Tunis, developing from a Phoenician colony of the 1st millennium BC...

. On 10 March 241 BC, a major naval battle was fought a short distance offshore between the two powers. Two hundred Roman ships under the consul
Consul
Consul was the highest elected office of the Roman Republic and an appointive office under the Empire. The title was also used in other city states and also revived in modern states, notably in the First French Republic...

 Gaius Lutatius Catulus
Gaius Lutatius Catulus
Gaius Lutatius Catulus was a Roman statesman and naval commander in the First Punic War.He was elected as a consul in 242 BC, a novus homo. During his consulship he supervised the construction of a new Roman fleet. This fleet was funded by donations from wealthy citizens, since the public treasury...

 met and decisively defeated a much larger Carthaginian fleet of 400 ships, with the Romans sinking 120 Carthaginian vessels and taking 10,000 prisoners. So many dead Phoenicians washed ashore on the northeastern part of Favignana that the shoreline there acquired the name "Red Cove" (Cala Rossa) from the bloodshed. The Romans took possession of the island under the terms of the treaty that ended the war.

Under Roman rule, the islanders adopted Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 by the 4th century AD, although (judging by inscriptions dated to the 1st century BC they appear to have retained at least some Phoenician culture. In the early Middle Ages, Favignana was captured by Arabs and was used as a base for the Islamic conquest of Sicily. The Normans subsequently took possession of the island, and built fortifications there from 1081. Under the Aragon
House of Aragon
The House of Aragon is the name given several royal houses that ruled the County, the Kingdom or the Crown of Aragon.Some historiansGuillermo Fatás y Guillermo Redondo, Alberto Montaner Frutos, Faustino Menéndez Pidal de Navascués...

ese rulers of Sicily, Favignana and the other Egadi Islands were hired out to Genoese
Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

 merchants and in the 15th century the islands were granted to one Giovanni de Karissima, who adopted the grand title "Baron of Tuna".

The plentiful tuna fish found offshore were first exploited systematically under the Spanish from about the 17th century onwards. Facing severe financial problems from their ongoing wars, the Spanish sold the islands to the Marquis Pallavicino of Genoa in 1637. The Pallavicini substantially developed the economy of the island, prompting the establishment of the modern town of Favignana around the Castello San Giacomo. In 1874, the Pallavicino family sold the Egadi Islands to Ignazio Florio, the son of a wealthy mainland industrialist, for two million liras. He invested heavily in Favignana and built a major tuna cannery on the island, bringing prosperity to many of the inhabitants. Tuff
Tuff
Tuff is a type of rock consisting of consolidated volcanic ash ejected from vents during a volcanic eruption. Tuff is sometimes called tufa, particularly when used as construction material, although tufa also refers to a quite different rock. Rock that contains greater than 50% tuff is considered...

 quarries were also opened with stone being exported to Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

 and Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

.

The islanders had a much more difficult time during the 20th century. Favignana's economy slumped between the two World War
World war
A world war is a war affecting the majority of the world's most powerful and populous nations. World wars span multiple countries on multiple continents, with battles fought in multiple theaters....

s and many inhabitants emigrated to the mainland and abroad. The tuna fishery also declined with the rise of factory fishing after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. However, the island's fortunes were turned around by the advent of tourism from the late 1960s onwards.

Geography

Favignana is the largest of the three principal Egadi Islands, with a land area of 19,8 km². The island is often described as having a "butterfly" shape. Favignana town is located on a narrow isthmus connecting the two "wings", which have quite different characteristics. The eastern half of the island is largely flat, while the western half is dominated by a chain of hills of which Monte Santa Caterina is the tallest at 314 m (1045 ft). It is topped by a fort, originally established by the Saracens and still in use by the Italian military (and closed to the public). A number of small islands are situated off the south coast of Favignana.

Main sights

The island is famous for its caves of calcarenite rock (locally known as "tufo") and the ancient fishing technique of tonnara, originally of Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 origin, with the trapping and mattanza (massacre) of bluefin tuna. Favignana is one of the few places in Italy where this is still done. Because the island consists mainly of calcareous rocks, there are few beaches on the island; however, it is a popular site for scuba diving
Scuba diving
Scuba diving is a form of underwater diving in which a diver uses a scuba set to breathe underwater....

, snorkeling
Snorkeling
Snorkeling is the practice of swimming on or through a body of water while equipped with a diving mask, a shaped tube called a snorkel, and usually swimfins. In cooler waters, a wetsuit may also be worn...

, and for day trips from nearby Trapani.

Further reading

  • Mattanza by Theresa Maggio (ISBN 0-14-100160-7), an American writer's account of the Favignana's springtime tonnara.

External links



The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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