Favignana's 19th-century tuna cannery – a vast, elegant, waterfront complex overlooking the port and built from the local tufa stone – is now a fascinating museum focusing on the local tuna fishing industry. The rambling maze, in operation until 1977, includes boat sheds with vintage boats ready to roll out to sea; the terrace where the tuna were hung; la batteria de cottura, with a trio of huge red-brick chimneys, where the tuna were cooked; and the cavernous hall with the original assembly tables where the cans were filled.
Various short films document different aspects of the cannery's history and tuna fishing traditions in the seas around Favignana, including the island's famous Mattanza. One film focuses on Favignana's famous Flavio family: Vincenzo Florio Sr (1799–1886), a brilliant Palermitan businessman who had made his name in the sulphur, shipping and Marsala industries, also invented a way of steam-cooking and preserving canned tuna that revolutionised the fish-packing industry and cemented the success of his family's business empire. This tonnara, constructed in 1859 and massively expanded from 1878, was one of many in Sicily to be owned by the wealthy Florio family.
Temporary contemporary-art exhibitions, always with a fishing heritage or environment theme, complement the permanent displays. Optional one-hour guided tours (in English) are included in the ticket price.