Introduction

Easily accessible by hydrofoil from Trapani or Marsala, the Egadi Islands (Isole Egadi) are popular destinations for swimming, diving, eating and general relaxation.

For centuries, the Egadi islanders have lived from the sea, as the prehistoric cave paintings on Levanzo illustrate. In 241 BC, when the islands were a key Carthaginian stronghold, one of the Punic Wars' most critical battles was fought at Cala Rossa (Red Cove, so named for the amount of Carthaginian blood spilt). When the Arabs took Sicily, they used the islands as a stepping-stone, fortifying them heavily to prevent anyone else following suit.

In 1874, Genovese bankers sold the islands to the Florio family, who established a branch of their lucrative tuna industry here, bringing great prosperity to the islands. Unfortunately, the surrounding waters have been terribly overfished, causing a dent in the local economy. The islands only became part of the Italian state in 1937.