Avid hikers will find Marettimo's rugged profile quite seductive. No matter where you go, the views are to die for, and the aromas and sounds of this island are testament to its uncontaminated nature. Many of the island's 12 sq. km (4 3/4 sq. miles) are impassable, steep, forested terrain, but there are several trails worth tackling, from moderate to challenging. Although poorly maintained in the past, Marettimo is well on its way to having a very respectable network of hiking trails.

Canine Companions -- Marettimo's hikes offer glorious solitude, but there is one caveat: You won't be completely alone on your outing because one of the island's stray dogs (a sort of Spaniel left over from the days when hunting was permitted on the island) is bound to accompany you at least part of the way; they'll even show you where the freshwater springs are. Though these dogs don't belong to anyone in particular, they're healthy, clean, collared, and respected members of the community.


Donkey Rides

Any of Marettimo's hiking trails can also be negotiated on the back of one of the island's trusty donkeys. The best way to arrange a donkey ride is through the staff at your accommodations, or, if you're not staying overnight, inquire in town about escursioni a dorso d'asino.


If the Baroque artist Caravaggio painted underwater scenes, they might have resembled the high-keyed marine scapes in the depths off Marettimo. The formidable slopes and splendid grottoes around the island's coast only continue and intensify underwater, creating magnificent habitats for vibrant marine life. Voglia di Mare (Via Mazzini 50; tel. 339/4213845; www.vogliadimare.com) offers day dives from 70€, with full equipment rental included, as well as weeklong packages. Another recommended outfit is Stella Marina Diving Club (tel. 0923/923144 or 0923/923276), run by island native and former Alaska fisherman Pietro Torrente.



The Società Cooperativa San Giuseppe (tel. 0923/541155) organizes fishing trips -- in the traditional marettimaro style: You get up very, very early -- from 20€ per person.

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.