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D + 22: Favignana - Tuna Capital of Italy

Updated: Mar 26, 2021


Arriving in Trepani, the Erice Mountain at the back


Approaching Sicily at 10 am this morning, we were greeted by a bunch of tuna and seagulls hunting a shoal of sardines. What a spectacle. Sadly, I was not fast enough with my camera and missed it. Not for nothing do people call Trapani and the Aegadian Island the tuna capital of Italy. We bought some canned red tuna and cannot wait to open it back home. It will make a delicious ingredient to home-made Salade Niçoise!

Fish fresh from the sea in Trapani harbour

With the hot, red peppers at the next market stall


It was a leisure day today – everybody was a bit sleepy after the 20 hours crossing from Sardinia last night. We used the day to relax and stock up on vegetables and fish fresh from the sea – a large sea bream will be backed in salt crust, a big red fish (forgot the name) will make it into bouillabaisse and the smaller seafood will be grilled. Yummie! We also got a bunch of ripe yellow and red cherry tomatoes – as the market stall was closing and the scale already put away we got them almost for free. There will be much more Greek salad and gazpacho to come.

Trapani's fabulous seafront built by the Spanish

The richly decorated baroque church was also built during the Spanish period

A ingenious way to create cool shades in the simmering summer heat


After Trepani, we sailed to Favignana, the largest of the Egedi Islands. It is here where the first Punic war ended in 241 BC when the Romans destroyed Carthage’s last fleet. Sicily and Sardinia became Roman provinces. For centuries the town was the centre of tuna fishing in the Mediterranean. The business was mostly run by Genovese families until Ignazio Florio bought the island for 2 million Lira in 1874 and built a big tuna cannery here. The business flourished for decades until large fish processing ships made it redundant.


Today, the town is a lively back-packer place. Lots of young people on a small budget but very happy faces everywhere. We wanted to visit the Castello di San Giacomo in the center of the town. But it was once converted to a prison and even so not in use any more still not accessible. We will have to visit the Castello di San Caterina on the hill overlooking Favignano tomorrow morning when it is still cool.

The busy harbour of Favignana with its many old shipyards

Today, Favignana is back-packer paradise

The Castello di Santa Caterina guarding the town - we will climb in tomorrow morning at 7.30 am


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