Marettimo is one of the 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 ....
in the Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...
west of 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,...
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. It forms a part of the municipality (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:...
) of Favignana
Favignana is a comune including three islands of the Aegadian Islands, southern Italy...
in the Province of Trapani
Province of Trapani
Trapani is a province in the autonomous island region of Sicily in Italy. Its capital is the city of Trapani.It has an area of 2,460 km², and a total population of 425,121...
. From 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:...
, the island takes about an hour to reach.
Marettimo is the second largest of the Aegadian Islands. The highest point is Monte Falcone with a height of 686 m (2,287 ft). The island has about 300 inhabitants in the winter and 700 in the summer (not including tourists), who mainly live from fishing and traditional hand-craft. Fishing is predominately conducted in the summer months.
The ancient name of the island was "Hiera", perhaps a term of Spanish
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...
However, the name "Hiera" is part of the Greek name "Hiera Nesos", which means "Sacred Island" in Greek.
The name Marettimo comes from the words Mar (Sea) and Timo (Thyme) due to the profusion of thyme on the island.
The island was an important observation point during Roman times, hence the Casa Romana, where it was easy observe passing maritime traffic. The sea routes between Italy and North Africa and Italy and Spain (via Sardinia) would pass Marettimo.
There is a well restored Byzantine-Norman church adjacent to the Casa Romana.
There are several impressive grottos around the islands coast and innumerable spots for excellent swimming in pristine waters on the western coast accessible only by boat.