Isola delle Correnti | Sunny Desert Islet where Sicily Ends.
Isola delle Correnti is undoubtedly a place very special, significant and unique in its kindconsisting is a sunny desert islet
where Sicily ends and once thereyou are in the southernmost Italian Region and point
facing the beautiful sandy beach of of Portopalo, a municipality of approximately 3,900 inhabitants along a stunning coastal stretch of of the Ionian Sea highlighted by that
great and suggestive attraction. That tiny island has a surface area of 0, 01 square kilometrelying at4, 0 metres of
altitude over the sea levelat 64,0 kilometres from the capital of province, thesuperb Siracusa, the iconic city of Dionysus and you are coming from
towards south you will be delighted by an enchanting coast frequently flanked by citrons,
picturesque hills, scattered olive groves,unforgettable virgin sandy
beaches lining a sea boasting stupendous
crystalline waters with a tonality ranging from a vivid emerald to a shining turquoise. Once reached thast place you will be on the terminal of a
natural paradise where the tonalities of the Mediterranean are part of an astonishing rainbow
of colours and lights with a stupendous horizon and you will have the chance to admire the eastern side the wide opening of the Canale di Sicilia, the
Canal of Sicily also called by Tunisian peopleQanat al- Kelibia. That Arab denomination is from that town situated on Cap Bon, the old Clupea, the current Kelibia founded by the Carthaginians,former Roman colony stronghold of the Berbers and the Aghlabid dynasty,a scenictip of the Maghreb
facing the fishing town of Mazara del Vallo, a town part of the province of Trapani from which at distance you can
also see the silhouette of the beautiful Malta and its splendid archipelago. (If
you are interested I wrote a post about that place of Tunisia) Isola delle Correnti faces a further highlight of the local area, the famousCapo Passero, a very attractive southeastern Sicilian cape consisting in one of the three historic
promontories of the Region which were supposed to have created the name Trinacria which means triangle which refers to the shape of Sicily with also protagonists the promontories of Faro near Messina and Cape Boeo in proximity of Marsala. That denominationcalled in ancient times
Trinacrium by the Romans, the star with three pointgave origin to thesymbol and flag adopted by the Sicilian government represented bya Medusa head encircled by three bent running legs and three stalks of wheat.
Summer in Isola delle Correnti is hot but ventilated at
evening and night thanks to the Mediterranean breeze coming from the Ionian, early autumn is pretty warm
with temperatures which sometimes can reach over 30º degrees while in the late season is more temperate
descending around 20º/21º degrees.
Generally in winter the temperatures drop around a minimum of 6º-7º degrees
in January but very rarely while in early spring you can often find
temperatures reaching a media average of 25 º, 26º degrees.
The visit of that islet is
particularly suggested to all people who are planning a Fly & Drive or a
tour around Sicily, individuals or small groups who want to see something of extremely suggestive and
greatly fascinating along an enchanting coast, highly recommended in addition for passionate photographers and sea lovers. The area close toIsola delle Correnti
is also particularly suggested to all the visitors fond about water
sports and with also the chance to appreciate a typical, genuine and
delicious cuisine with very comfortable accommodations and kind local people
with a very high sense of hospitality. Another wonderful option once there is that to visit and discoverthe picturesque interior of
thatstupendous Italian region eternally
illuminated by a warm sun and also for that a perfect destination to enjoy 365 days a year.
During a planned itinerary that site could
be a great stage included in a wonderful route visiting something of extremely fabulous about fine
art and magnificent history in Sicily with the marvellous chance to admire places declared UNESCO Heritage Sites in 2002 such as Noto, Palazzolo, Ragusa, Scicli, Modica,
Catania, Militello di Val di Catania and Caltagirone. All those places are denominated the eight marvels of
thelate Sicilian Baroquerepresentingone of the last cycles of that kind of
art in Europeand that simply outstanding in the case you are thinking on future holidays in that land and not far from Isola delle Correnti.
Furthermore next to all those marvels
you can also enjoy the previously mentioned enchanting Siracusa,
so famed for its superb Hellenic past, a relevant centre founded in 733 BC by Greek Corinthians and Teneans
settlers, well known during its long history to have been a loyal allied of Corinth and Sparta becoming an
influential and powerful city-state in the times of the flourishing Magna Graecia and historic rival of Athens.
That beautiful municipality boasts a historic
and monumental patrimony absolutely outstanding listed by
UNESCO a settlement which had in
the 5th century BC the same
size of the current capital of Greeceand it is also the birthplace of the emblematic engineer and mathematician Archimedes.
That islet with all those stupendous
wonders in its proximity could be a very attractive image to take home with very pleasant
memories for all people who love art and history but also scenic
places. A brilliant idea could be during a day after a full immersion admiring monuments and palaces of
high historic value to enjoy a pleasant break with the beauty of the most inspiring
Mediterranean admiring something of different, alternative and beautiful in its
kind like Isola dell Correnti.
Worth in addition a special mention about that site because Bizerte
and Tunis at that latitude are northern than that islet and that is another
attraction more because you are so close to the mainland of a big European island but further south of a part of the
Maghreb, a territory of North Africa.
That large and sharp promontory bathed
by the Mediterranean and that wide sea hallway facing that tiny island in
ancient times represented a very important cross road of cultures between two continents and that area was also in many occasions characterised by
The first Hellenic colonists who
founded relevant centres of Megale Hellas, that famous cradle of a a very active civilisation in the Italic
Peninsula developed by the Acaheans and
different tribes linked to them such as the Dorians, the Aeolians and
the Ionians from the Tarentine Gulf in the region of Apulia, including the
territories of Campania with the foundation of Neapolis the current Naples also extended their influence along all the coast of Calabria also colonising the entire Sicily.
During those ancient times that islet was reached,
explored and integrated in the domains of the powerful Siracusawhich originally used that place as a secondary dockfor its fleet.
Historically those waters were also
protagonists later of the epic Punic wars so famous for the endless naval battles
between the Imperial Romeand the most powerful North African City in those times, Carthage which were in that time fighting to have the total
domain of the Mediterranean expanding
Isola delle Correnti was in
those centuries perpetual witness of attacks, defences, sailings and
landings and according narrations it was used as a small natural harbour for some vesselsduring the times of Publius Cornelius Scipius Africanus, that eminent
figure of the Roman Republic who defeated Hannibal in the epic
battle at Zama, a sitejust south of Tunis. (In the case you are
interested I wrote a post about the Tunisian capital)
It was since then, during the period
related to Rome when it took its current name derived by the Latin
denomination Currentium Insula which translated means the island of the currents. The Roman Admirals during the navigation constantly noticed intense changes of the sea currents mutating with different intensity very close from that site sometimes
gentle but becoming insidious with also a frequent presence of high waves.
In days of storms and bad weather was pretty difficult to sail and land and much more when
the Sirocco, that notorious Mediterranean wind coming from the Sahara with speeds
up to 100 kilometres per hour in spring but also in autumn is
protagonist in that concrete geographical point.
Other historic periods linked that
sunny desert islet are linked to the landing in Sicily of the Moors
between the 9th and 10th
centurywith the Aghlabid dynasty of Ifriqiya who started the occupation in 827 with
Asad Ibn al-Furat. The Moorish rule continued later with the Fatimid dynastyand the Arab domination endured approximately two centuries with the main invasion entering from the westerncoast but including also along the coastline of Siracusa.
The fall of that civilisation corresponded to the advent in the late 11th century as new rulers of the island the Normans led by the Grand Count Roger I of Hauteville who became
King of Sicily and also in that
case as in the previous centuries Isola delle Correnti was a relevant
point of reference for that leader when he started his campaignfocused to the conquest of Malta culminated in 1091.
Since medieval times the Ionian around that isletwas also very popular destinationof
Tonnare, those activities linked to tuna fishing, hard job for many Sicilian
fishermen who since then until today spent and spend days searching the
best catch and often landing in proximity of that islet and
in the nearest Isola di Capo Passero. For long time that site with its lighthouse indicated them the navigationalway supporting
generations of people living that very dignified life in constant contact
with a sea which with its pitfalls and risks highlighted their great work and despite today it does not work its silhouette is still as a sort allied and a
constant point of reference.
The local sandy stretch of the
immediate mainland facing that island is highlighted by a light brown
tonality lining unforgettable turquoise waters characterised by an unmistakable smell of marine salt, a typical Mediterranean vegetation, scattered wild cliffs and the first impact with that scenic territory is
The view of Isola delle Correnti from the headland of Capo Passero
immediately appears for someone as an
illusion, a kind of mirage,there is
people including who confound it at distance in a peninsula and probably
also for that its image represents a sort of icon or something of simply
It hasan irregular shape, from a
perspective along the provincial road leading to Pozzallo corresponding tothe Strada
Provinciale 67 it seems as a big egg but it is from the cape the
unique point in which you can see its real conformation with a tip facing the coast and another one corresponding to a thin string of soil forming
a narrow inlet in its western side while the eastern and southernborders are pretty
The strength of the Mediterranean and
those famous currents have modelled in the course of the centuries its shapeand you will notice thepresence of a line of earth linking
in periods of low tides the islet to the coast of Portopalo forming a sort of
Once reached the concrete point
facing the islet you will notice in the air something of highly suggestive
reminiscent remote times linked to epic eras, feeling sensations transmitting in that geographic point where Sicily ends happened something of important.
Its silhouette and the view conceal
around it as mysterious things because now it is desert and that sort of
mystical atmosphere is highlighted by just the cry of migratory birds landing
there and all around apart that, silence with only the sound of the sea waves impacting
on the cliffs and no human presence.
Someone visiting that place including
felt the aura of the mythological Hellenic Gods in a windy day, suggestive
feelings but one thing is certain the colours and tonalities of the soil in that place are identical or very
similar to those of the Greek Thessaly.
Including the immediate interior
that Sicilian corner reminds in a sort of comparison those emblematic lands at the foot the Mount Olympus which was
according historic narrations home of the iconic twelve Olympian Gods.
From the local coast you will see the lighthouse, once residence of the guardian
which indicated the maritime routes to the boats, merchant ships and fishing
vessels sailing in the Mediterranean.
That building, the old faro is
today in disrepair, originally the construction was developed on a rectangular plan
with a small courtyard with a passage leading to the access of the main
structurecompleted bya a strong protective wall.
Since 1987the Region Sicily included that site in a plan of Nature Reserve for a very
interesting presence of vegetation and some rare examples
of psammophilus relitte and biocenesis halophile.
The rest of the natural environment consists in small Mediterranean bushes, a few sea lilies and
small plants such as wild capers and ruchetta marina, a sort of a marine
rocket which generally grows in sandy environments.
The islet was also protagonist about some studies when a network of scientists decided
to explore it for the presence of some
species of insects very rare in the
European continent and they are still object of study by the University of Catania. A further attraction which captured
the attention especially of scuba
divers is the local seabed which is
pretty rich of marine fauna with
different species of fish, some kinds of rare algaeand pretty interesting marine flora. In addition to that there are special rocks with a very varied formation and all that was in the recent past
of great interest for scientific researches with explorations and a deep analysis of different kinds of rocky
Another very interesting feature is
that despite the very small size that tiny island boastsa presence of varied kinds of clays of different colours such as yellow, brown others with a tendency to
an ochre tonality and further with a sort of gray but also white and cream tonalities and
all that has generated curiosity and interest from part of various geologists
who are analysing that very diverse presence unique in its kind.
That site since a long time ago is
also a beloved point often frequented by ornithologists due
to many species of birds which land there on the route towards the coasts of Tunisia and Libya and they use Isola delle Correntias as natural stage during ther migratory transit such as herons, red herons, gulls, albatross and waterflow among others.
In its extreme northern tip for all
the photography lovers there is also a splendid viewin late afternoon
at sunset, a scenic paradise of lights, reflections and colours of the water and when the sun
rays fall combined with that light brown colour of the beach all is pure and in that concrete point
you can also see the old path leading to the
Around that desert islet is very
lovely place for snorkeling and swimmingenjoying the magnificent crystalline
waters and other activities as wind surfing and surfing thanks to winds and those waves generated
by those famous currents.
There are some very panoramic points
to admire the conformation of Isola delle Correnti if you sail approximately a couple of kilometres south and
towards eastof the cape you
will have an excellent perspective of its entire shape a great
image of that scenic site which will enchant you.
On the mainland if you walk for
approximately 300, 0 metres north from the headland along you will
reach a small sharp tip and from there it is another splendid occasion
to enjoy a great viewand in
addition you can find another oneapproximately 1, 0 kilometres further north in a point in which the coast forms a
very attractive bay.
Many are the places of historic
interest you can visit in the immediate surroundings as in Portopalo di Capopassero where lies the scenic Castello di Tafuri,
erected between 1933 and 1935 by the
Florentine architect Saverio Crotti for the Marquis Bruno di Belmonte and it became in the 50's a property of
Tafuri family from which took its current name.
It is a fine architectural Renaissance replica highlighted
by a beautiful facade boasting refined arched windows and superb outlines with
a magnificent high crenellated tower of medieval inspiration, a building which
became very famous in recent times because two notorious personalities as Michael Schumacher former F1 racing driver and
the businessman Flavio Briatore
wanted to buy it.
Another shining attraction is the Isola di Capo Passero, consisting in another small
islet with a surface area of 0, 37 square kilometres which was once a peninsula. It is just 1300, 0 metres long and with a width
of approximately half kilometre. On it was elevated a small fortess between the late 16th and 17th centuries during the times of King Philip III of Spain.
That very small island has a beautiful sandy beach, some marine caves and a further attraction despite it is an abandoned
building is the Tonnara which was
since medieval times when it was erected in the 13th century the headquarter which hosted the local tuna fishing operations.
the stunning Siracusa and the other gems related to the UNESCO Heritage sites previously
cited at the beginning of the post and those mentioned above, I also
suggest you some other visits as Pachino very famous for its archaeological sites, some ancient grottoes
and a very rich architectonic patrimony.
Avola is a furtherone, a town with a great historic past
well known for a very important dolmen discovered in that municipality in1961 and that centre in addition is very famous for its prestigious fine
During an enjoyable stay in the area of Isola delle Correnti you can
enjoy a delicious cuisine which totally reflects all the Sicilian and Mediterranean
spirit in its true spirit.
You will be delighted by some very delectable gastronomic products and dishes as a superb tuna, fried fish andseafood of superb quality. Do not miss to try the exquisite Zuppa di Pesce alla Siracusana,a stew prepared with mussels,
clams, prawns, mackerel, cuttlefish with an addition of green olives,
capers, slices of bread, tomato, olive oil and chili pepper.
Absolutely excellent are the Calamari Fatti Fritti consisting
fresh squid which in the process of preparation are before fried then
filled with fresh tomato and baked in the oven. A further superb
speciality, pride of the local culinary art I recommend you is the Tonno a ghiotta, fresh
tuna cooked with potatoes, tomatoes, onion, garlic and pepper.
The Pisci Spada gratinato is another gastronomic emblem consisting in baked
swordfish seasoned with garlic, lemon, parsley, black pepper, salt, potatoes and
with a “gratin” of pecorino cheese or in alternative Parmesan on the top.
Two notorious dishes are in addition the
delicious Caponata and a local Couscous inherited by the
Arab-Berbers with an use apart of semolina and meat also pumpkin,
chickpeas and potatoes and do not forget to taste the exquisite and famed Arancini.
You can find an ample variety of pasta plates prepared with different kinds of sauces and styles and try
the Pizza Siracusana made with onion, fresh tomato, cheese with an addition of potatoes,
An endless list of different kinds of
local baked bread products similar to stuffed Calzoni is another
culinary highlightsuch as the deliciousCudduruni,
Mpanate, Vastedda, Pastizzi, Nfiughhiulate filled withcheese,
sausages, salami, seafood, meat, vegetables and a further one which
deserves a mention, very typical of that specific area is the Caiccu made with fish and potatoes.
Notable is also the quality of the
local juicy tomatoes simply great in mixed
salads or cut and seasoned with olive oil and salt on a toasted bread. You
are in a geographic area well known for the production of the famed Pomodori Pachini, those little tomatoes absolutely excellent to to garnish a wide range of starters and appetisers.
Simply outstanding is the quality of local olives with different kinds present on the local territory
suchas Zaituna, Biancolilla, Moresca, Nocellara and Tonda Iblea among others.
An iconic specialityusing that product is the tastefully Alivi Cunzati, seasoned with garlic,
vinegar, pepper, salt, adding celery, carrots in slices red chili and conserved
under olive oil.
Others traditional Sicilian delights you will have the chance to taste are the notorious
Granita, Cannoli, Cassatedde and Cassata, brilliant opportunities to enjoy some emblematic sweet icons of Sicily well known worlwide.
local wines is a further highlight delighting refined palates, they are absolutely superb, some of the best you can
not miss are Nero d´Avola, Eloro di Pachino and Syrah among many others. They are products very smooth and palatable result of robust grapes, result of many days of sun and mild Mediterranean
breezes highlighted by a supreme colour, texture, and very
I suggest below some links, including some
accommodations to spend a pleasant stay in proximity of Isola delle
The Airport Fontanarossa Vincenzo
Bellini of Catania is situated at 114,0 kilometres
north of Portopalo di Capo Passero and in approximately one hour and half
driving you can reach that beautiful area via Siracusa by E18 motorway until the town of Noto,once there you have to follow the
indications towards the provincial Road SP 19 in directionPachino.
If you are planning a trip to Sicily,
I recommend you a visit or why not stay close to that site, the eternally splendid Ionian sea, crystalline
waters, a mild climate and a sun shining all year will delight your days in a magnificent environment, next to special lights always
shimmering around to that sunny desert islet where Sicily ends.
Accommodations in Portopalo di Capopassero