advertisement

Getting There

Siremar, Molo Sanità, Trapani (tel. 0923/24968; www.siremar.it), has at least a dozen daily boats (ferries and hydrofoils) between Trapani and Favignana. Boats from the Sicilian mainland call first at Favignana (55 min. by ferry/8.20€, 15-20 min. by hydrofoil/10€) before proceeding to Levanzo and Marettimo. Siremar also has a ticket office on Favignana at Molo San Leonardo (tel. 0923/921368). Ustica Lines, Via Ammiraglio Staiti, Trapani Porto (tel. 0923/873813; www.usticalines.it), is the other carrier offering sea connections from Sicily to Favignana, running hydrofoils only from both Trapani and Marsala. From Trapani, trip frequency, crossing times, and ticket prices are the same as Siremar's hydrofoils. From Marsala (Piazza Piemonte Lombardo; tel. 348/3579863), the hydrofoil to Favignana takes 30 minutes and costs 10€. Ustica Lines has an office on Favignana at Molo San Leonardo (tel. 0923/921277).

Getting Around

Favignana is mostly flat and fairly small, but just big enough that you can't get everywhere you want to go on foot. It's the perfect island for biking -- that is, leisurely pedaling on easy roads. Two wheels make all of Favignana's coastline (and all those enticing coves and beaches) much more accessible. Brits and Northern Europeans usually opt for bikes (available for rent all over Favignana town), while Italians choose -- what else? -- the motorino. Scooters will, of course, get you from point A to point B faster, but the daily rental rate is also significantly higher. In the blistering heat of August, however, that motorino becomes a godsend. In Favignana town, Noleggio Grimaldi, Piazza Europa 34 (tel. 0923/921635 or 339/1609239), or Noleggio Da Pietro, Via Garibaldi 10 (tel. 347/3716841), both rent bikes and scooters. Depending on the season, bikes are 5€ to 8€ per day, while scooters run from 15€ to 40€ per day for 50cc models and 25€ to 50€ for 100cc/125cc bikes. Small motorboats are readily available for rent at the port, or join one of the organized island-circumnavigation excursions offered by those boat rental agencies. These usually last several hours and may include lunch on-board, with tastings of Favignana tuna.

Visitor Information

The Pro Loco tourist office, Piazza Madrice (tel. 0923/921647), acts as an information center for Levanzo and Marettimo as well. The Pro Loco can arrange guided tours of the recently restored Florio tuna plant.

La Mattanza: A Grisly & Mesmerizing Ancient Ritual -- Animal lovers may wish to avoid the Egadis in late May or early June, when the la mattanza, or tuna slaughter, takes place. Bluefin tuna, prized throughout the world for their flavorful red flesh, swim all over the Atlantic and Mediterranean but return every spring to western Sicily to spawn. The mattanza, which was an Arab invention, is still carried out in the waters off Favignana, usually in May or June. Led by the rais (the Arabic word for "head," in this context, the high priest of tuna-corralling), the team of skilled tonnaroti (tuna fishermen) stops to pray at a floating cross bearing images of various saints, palm fronds, and flowers before heading out to the tonnara (trap) to butcher the powerful fish with bare hands and harpoons. The season comes to a close by June 13, the feast day of Sant'Antonio. Note: Collapse of bluefin tuna stocks in the Mediterranean may eventually spell an end to la mattanza; efforts are now underway to list the bluefin as an endangered species.

Fast Facts

The Banca Nuova, Piazza Europa 2 (tel. 0923/921251), keeps regular banking hours and has an ATM. The post office, which also has an ATM, is at Via G. Marconi 2 (tel. 0923/921209) and opens Monday through Friday 8am to 1:30pm and Saturday 8am to 12:30pm. For medical assistance, the Guardia Medica is at Via delle Fosse (tel. 0923/921283). A pharmacy is at Piazza Madrice 70 (tel. 0923/921265). For the police, call tel. 0923/921202.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.