© Fabulorum. José Medio

This may be a unique and strange phenomenon in the Mediterranean: an island that escaped the dreaded tourist masses and happily has entered the XXI century untouched and unmoved by port expansions, shopping marinas and traffic gluts in her sinous and scarce roads.

Pantelleria is not a recognizable beauty spot and does not compete in glamour with any of her more popular siblings of Southern Italy. She stands alone, volcanic and abrupt in the middle of the Straits of Sicily and equidistant from the Tunisian and the Sicilian coastlines. A throwback to a nostalgic past or a harbinger of new Gaia philosophies? In the latter case, the miracle occurred without too much ideological baggage. Culture here is too old and the present inhabitants may not have heard of a militant love for the soil.

There is an insolent beauty, an old and majestic glimmer in her waters and a serene aura in any of her corners. The terraced fields of tomatoes and capers, the rustic architecture of the damuso and the dark and rocky shores subjugate the chance visitor. Panteleria enters the soul and stays there.

Giorgio Armani, Ricardo Mutti, the photographer Fabrizio Ferri and his ballerina wife, Alessandra, are among the famed residents of this singular place. Carole Bouquet , the French actress, produces the local passito wine and olive oil.

The austere topography of the island enshrines much of that raw beauty that does not belong to the post card kind. It also hides other precious things. Like an evening  at the moorish patio of Zubebi, a discreet resort, sipping a glass of Sicilian Maurigi wine and tasting their luscious “fritto misto”. Then, you realize a share of paradise can drop on your lap during your earthly existence.

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