"Rises the island of Ogygia in the remote eddies of the Sea…".
These words were spoken by Homer’s when he landed in the navel of the Sicilian channel, in other words Pantelleria: between prehistory and myth, the island’s history sinks into the mists of time.
For the preciousness of its location it was nicknamed the Black Pearl of the Mediterranean Sea – as it facilitated trade, commerce and the control of the routes across the Strait of Sicily. The island bears the marks of the different populations who have inhabited and dominated it. The first ones to leave signs of their presence were the Sesioti, who in the Neolithic age, arrived presumably from the neighbouring Tunisia, were attracted to the island’s abundance of obsidian (a black volcanic glass). It was the basic material used for making tools and weapons. Subsequent was the era of Cossyra, this name was given by the Phoenicians living in Pantelleria, and it became over the centuries a real city. It was then the turn of the Romans and, from the 700 it was dominated by the Arabs.
The Arab’s colonization was a turning point for the island, as they introduced many crops and farming techniques. They built the dammusi (typical Pantescan houses), along with terracing, Pantescan gardens, and named many places and objects. Their domination made up the island’s legacy.
The following centuries saw the alternation of various dominations: the Normans, the Angevins, the Aragonites and the Bourbons. Then the island became part of the Kingdom of Italy and later the current Republic of Italy. Each one of these dominations have left their sign in terms of culture, traditions and places: Pantelleria’s history and nature testify a Sea of bustling humanity.