Lonely Planet Writer

A Sicilian island with a quirky history is for sale

If you fancy the thought of owning your own island, a Sicilian one that has come on the market might appeal.

The Sicilian island of Isola delle Femmine
The Sicilian island of Isola delle Femmine is for sale. Image: Romolini Immobiliare/Christie’s International Real Estate

Located a short distance from Palermo, with the mainland only 300 metres away, the Isola delle Femmine is for sale with a guide price of between €2m and €3m ($2.26m to $3.39m). It is 15 hectares wide with a maximum height of 35 metres above sea level.

The tower on the Sicilian island of Isola delle Femmine
The Isola delle Femmine is a nature reserve. Image: Romolini Immobiliare/Christie’s International Real Estate

The island got its name because legend has it that 13 Turkish girls committed crimes, and were loaded by their relatives onto a ship and set adrift. A storm threw the ship onto a small island, where the girls lived for seven long years in solitude. When the families repented of their actions and found their daughters again, the women decided not to return home. They instead founded a small town called Capaci opposite the island, which was renamed Isola delle Femmine, or Island of the Women.

The island is a registered nature reserve, with many lizards making their home there. It is characterised by a typical Mediterranean steppe, which is mainly covered in mallow, mandrake and erba stella on the higher ground. There is glasswort and bird’s-foot trefoil on the cliffs going toward the coastline and iris and romulea flowers. The seabed around the island is easily reachable, thanks to the incredible clearness of the water that surrounds the island.

The tower on the Sicilian island of Isola delle Femmine
The island is a registered nature reserve. Image: Romolini Immobiliare/Christie’s International Real Estate

The ancient watch tower was built in the 16th century as part of a huge Sicilian defence system. It was badly damaged during the Allied landing in Sicily as part of the Operation Husky in 1943, and it has remained in need of repair. The conservative restoration of the tower would facilitate making the building usable as a residence or as a museum, allowing visitors to appreciate the island’s historical, artistic and archaeological value.

The tower on the Sicilian island of Isola delle Femmine
There is a tower on the Sicilian island of Isola delle Femmine. Image: Romolini Immobiliare/Christie’s International Real Estate

There is also a medieval well and cistern that could possibly be restored to make the island habitable.

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