Design

Beautiful escape in Sicily

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The wind sneaks under the vaults in tuff of the rooms, plays with the curtains in veil, the suspension The Tears of the Fisherman of Ingo Maurer (on the right, in the center), caresses the terraces where it is good lunch and slides under parasols , in front of natural pools called Bains des Dames.

Nicolas Millet

On the island of Favignana, in Sicily, hotels, restaurants and other deco & greedy addresses are offered to the arrival of holidaymakers. Former fishing and tuff quarries, this destination is now characterized by its charming port and its typical Italian streets ... We invite you to browse Favignana in pictures.

During your holidays, are you rather orange spritz at the cafe terraces or turquoise waters and secret beach? At the western tip of Sicily, Favignana, the pearl of the Aegadian archipelago, will offer you the most beautiful Mediterranean cocktails. And charming hotels from which to explore its astonishing industrial heritage, as the island lived off fishing and stone before becoming a trendy destination.

Even today, the island lives to the rhythm of fishing. Faced with the remains of the huge Florio cannery, the aliscafi, the ferries that bring visitors, alongside the fishing boats in the lovely port of Favignana.

Nicolas Millet

Take early in the morninghydrofoil in Trapani, it is embarking for the very heart of the Mediterranean. In twenty minutes, Calypso and his sisters deposit you on the quays of Favignana, the largest of the three Aegadian islands that draw the western tip of Sicily. The small white and blue boats all returned to the port, protected by a portrait of the Virgin taped on the windshield or a name stuck to Greek mythology. Here, even the ferry is called Zeus.

Old men are talking on a bench at the foot of Florio Palace. The fishermen are busy around the stalls where scorpionfish and octopus, pulled from their element at dawn, still move. Regulars quibble, claim goblets for cuttlefish ink, then go home to prepare spaghetti al nero di seppia, not without eyeing the passage of shoes at 1 350 euros a pair in the window of Stefania. That's how: in this end-of-the-world port, jet-set and Italy always come together as in the Dolce & Gabbana pubs ...

A coffee arranged with pistachio cream, specialty of the port, and heading to Monte Santa Caterina to take the measure of the archipelago. To the north, Levanzo seems very close with its white houses and large terrace where everything happens, since there is no car or bike on the island. To the west, Marettimo, the most mountainous and wild of the Aegadians, is known for its fragrant honey and its springs where all the sailors of the Mediterranean, including Ulysses ...

For centuries, Favignana lived on the exploitation of tuff, the island's blonde stone, and tuna fishing.

Nicolas Millet

The queen of the tonnara

Favignana is the butterfly, the butterfly-shaped island. Its small baroque city has not changed since 1764, when fishing for bluefin tuna was already THE big business of spring. In 1874, the wealthy Florio family accelerated the movement by giving it a modern cannery, the largest in the Mediterranean, a 32,000-square-meter city in the city. In May-June, fishermen settled between Favignana and Levanzo tonnara, a diabolic maze of 8.5 kilometers of nets anchored by 40 meters deep, in which the tuna migrated en route.

When the trap was full, the tonnaroti formed a square with the big black boats called Vascelli, then the surface of the moving bottom of the trap was raised to the surface. Then began a Homeric body to body between men and tapered fish whose largest weighed up to 600 kilos.

These days of mattanza, the factory was a hive. Imagine 600 to 800 workers engaged in skinning and cutting the catches, transporting them through slippery courses of blood and fish oil, cooking them in a battery of twenty-four boilers worthy of hell and putting everything in boxes under a good layer of olive oil.

Then the tuna ran out of water and, although the ritual of fishing and mattanza until 2007, the Stabilimento Florio ceased all activity in the 1970s. Today it is a large and beautiful museum, renovated by architects Stefano Biondo and Paola Misuraca. Certainly, the Vascelli remain motionless in the trizzana large portals open on the water. The heavy nets are spread on the ground.

The strings, useless, hang under the gallery where the tuna were suspended and the beautiful cans are piled up empty on the straw mattresses. But the "cathedral of work" is still standing, with its forest of pillars, its crossings of ogives, its broken arches, its marble altars and its Madonnina statue ... The last ones tonnaroti They fill their profession with holograms and the beautiful black and white photos of René Burri, Herbert List, Leonard Freed and Sebastião Salgado freeze their fishing campaigns for eternity.

Between port and cathedral, lively streets lead to traditional restaurants like Quello che c'è ... c'è!

Nicolas Millet

Nicolas Millet

Dolce vita in the shade of orange trees

Nicolas Millet

In the piazza Europa, the walkers no longer see the statue of Ignazio Florio, busy they are to choose between a lemon granite Caffe Mazzini and the casatelle with ricotta from Bar del Corso. Later, the sun-drenched streets of Vittorio Emanuele and Garibaldi will lead them to restaurants, trattorias or salumerias where they will be served a tuna pasta dish, a fish couscous or a pane cunzatu, local pan-bagnat with fresh cheese and capers. In the summer, they will meet models, actors, maybe even Giorgio Armani descended from his yacht, but the menu will always be dictated by fishing and the market: "Quello che c'è ... that's it!"

At the end of the day, the city takes on airs of medina. Piazza Madrice, orange scents rise to the glazed dome of the cathedral. Just a few steps away, the lovely Piera Carrara, together with the architects Milli Paglieri (creator of Bab Anmil) and Cinzia Civalleri, made her Casa dell'Arancio a real Sicilian riad. From the courtyard to the beautiful orange tree, a staircase leads to six spacious rooms - tadelakt, antique and contemporary Moroccan furniture - and the rooftop terrace covered with zelliges, from where it is good to watch the animation of the harbor decrease and the city s' to awake at the time of the aperitivo. In the street Vittorio Emanuele, now closed to cars, the terraces of bars invade the road. Boys from Camarillo Brillo spinning with spritz trays on the rocks: the night is coming ... orange!

Temples of stone and turquoise sea

When the day comes back, you have to borrow a bike and follow the small roads of the island that snake between two flowered fennel, caper and bay leaves. When the asphalt stops dead, a track leads to a beach. Like Cala Rossa, which will take your breath away because it mixes all the bruises, from dark cobalt to pale turquoise, on the white page of the sand.

In 2005, during the Louis Vuitton Cup regattas, the entire world watched Favignana and its Indian Ocean shores. Among the spectators, Miuccia Prada, who has since bought a house on the island and whose blue-sky sailboat is often anchored off Bue Marino. On this beautiful north-east coast of the island, we notice strange masonry ramps covered with marble.

Carriers used to drag their blocks of tuff aboard the big boats that took them to the mainland. The blonde and tender stone made the fortune of the island in the eighteenth century, where there were seventeen active quarries, and in the nineteenth century. Today, after having transformed the island into Gruyère, the quarries had to close but, against a backdrop of turquoise waters, their remains still draw a fascinating mineral decoration, primitive temples devoured by the wind which disintegrates their walls in coarse sand and drop it at their foot ...

The pirriaturi have left behind them a labyrinth of rooms, prospecting wells and pruning fronts, where forest of pillars, rails and forgotten machines excite the imagination and use the flashlights of those who venture there. Always at their own risk. Sometimes, between walls squared by saws like school notebooks, these excavations are home to a garden of agaves, fig trees, orange trees, vines and pomegranates. Contained oases called "Hypogeum gardens" whose Cave Bianche hotel, surrounded by spectacular fronts of size, was inspired.

Softer by the sea, the tuff exploitation has just left some pools and natural baths, called Ladies' Baths, in front of the hotel Cas'almare. All in tufa cubes and recesses, this pretty boutique hotel is reminiscent of Paul Klee's Tunisian watercolors. It is a dream. At breakfast, on the large sunny terrace, where you have to share between the crystal clear view of Levanzo Island and the crostata di limone.

Or at nap time, when the zephyr makes the sheers curl at the windows, always open on the blue sea. Blasco La Cavera, the master of the place, has been exploring the island since childhood. He knows her by heart, made him discover his wife, Sonia, who fell in love in turn. One could not dream of better cicerones to discover the second wing of the farfalla and the other islands of the archipelago. Only, here ... we are so good!

Stone laydes and gardens on the sea

Nicolas Millet

Forgotten height fronts, slides sliding tufa blocks and Mediterranean gardens in front of turquoise waters where Rome and Carthage fought, where the tonnaroti installed their trap and where Miuccia Prada comes today on vacation.

In Cas'almare, time slows down more slowly

Nicolas Millet

The wind sneaks under the vaults in tuff of the rooms, plays with the curtains in veil, the suspension The Tears of the Fisherman of Ingo Maurer (on the right, in the center), caresses the terraces where it is good lunch and slides under parasols , in front of natural pools called Bains des Dames.

Nicolas Millet

Nicolas Millet

Sicilian riad at Casa dell'Arancio

Nicolas Millet

Together with the architects Milli Paglieri and Cinzia Civalleri, Piera Carrara has furnished her small hotel where a beautiful orange tree of ancient and contemporary Moroccan furniture is flourishing and welcomes its guests on its beautiful roof terrace in zelliges.

The beautiful "cathedral of work" of the Florio family

Nicolas Millet

Formerly an effervescent hive where hundreds of workers were busy transforming tuna caught off the island, the Florio cannery is a magnificent boathouse museum, a battery of boilers and processing plants.

Nicolas Millet

Our thanks to Comptoir de l'Italie who helped us to make this report.

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