Marettimo is shaped like a parallelogram, or, for the more poetically inclined, a flying carpet. The village of Marettimo is about halfway down the eastern coast on the only place flat enough for a settlement. A sharp ridge of Dolomitic limestone, covered in the green of pines and Mediterranean scrub, forms a spine that bisects the island from north to south. From the vantage point of the sea, the western coast of Marettimo is the most spectacular, with tall cliffs plunging to the sea and fascinating caves and karstic features that have been formed over the millennia.

In Marettimo town, everyone stops for breakfast at Caffè Tramontana, Via Campi, on the old port on the north side of town (tel. 389/9612272); at sunset, an aperitivo is de rigueur at Bar Baia del Sole, Piazza Umberto 5 (tel. 0923/923014), with tables on the central piazzetta. While wandering around town, pay a visit to the charming Museo del Mare (Via Campi 3; tel. 0923/923000). The collection is a single room with poignant photographs of marettimari fishermen through the years, dating back to the early 1900s. Many of these fathers and sons emigrated to California and Alaska, where the fishing business was more profitable, in the early 20th century.

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