Skip to content



    Ustica - Black Pearl of the Mediterranean

    Ustica is a small, beautiful, unique, and wild island full of good-hearted people. Fantastic seabeds, a marine reserve like few in the Mediterranean, and many well equipped diving centers. A fascinating historical background, a paradise for divers and fishes. The island itself is actually the tip of an ancient volcano, its bulk lying beneath the surface of the sea – a factor you cannot forget, thanks to the abundance of black volcanic rock that makes up the island’s landscape. However, far from being stark, Ustica’s black rocks are brought to life with colourful blooms of hibiscus and vivid green cacti whilst whitewashed, traditional houses brighten up the shoreline. The island is so small and in less than 9 square kilometers you will see history, art, nature, adventure, and culture. Ustica is an island with a wonderfully mild climate and a meager vegetation, rich with olive and almond trees, vines, brooms and the characteristic Mediterranean steppe.

    Town of Ustica

    Ustica’s heart is a long chain of three piazzas (effectively one long square) which slope down from the pretty island church towards the harbour road. The sea can be seen from railings just off the main part of the piazza. In this square you’ll find bars, restaurants, the marine reserve information office and a few other businesses. Several other shops are situated just off the square; you'll find two or three small food and general stores (look for "alimentary” or “market” signs). Character is added to the town centre by large colourful murals which decorate the walls of houses. The oldest nucleus of the town can be found heading behind the church up to the town hall, then turning left down Via Tre Mulini, where you’ll find the Case Vecchie, the old houses. These ancient dwellings are on a site used in Roman times, probably for farm buildings, then later for a medieval monastery. The island’s 18th-century colonists set up their first homes here, before the buildings fell into decay, abandoned or used to house animals. Some are now restored with care, and it's an atmospheric area to explore.

    Magical Views


    The Coast

    The topography of the area invites us to take a walk to discover the native species of the Reserve of Ustica Island. The trails that follow the island gentle slopes, memory of its volcanic origins, make us enjoy amazing landscapes and stunning sunsets, surrounded by the blue of sky and sea. Its multi-coloured and unique Mediterranean scrub changes along with the alternation of the seasons, through a blend of contrasting colours.

    One can ideally explore the coast of Ustica by a boat trip, discovering several of its beautiful caves (the Blue Grotto, the Green Grotto, the Pastizza Grotto with its stalactites, the Grotta delle Barche, etc.). On the land side, you can access coves of sand and pebbles, and other caves, including Cala Sidoti beach and the rocks of Scogli Piatti to the west, the natural pool near the Punta Cavazzi lighthouse to the south west, and to the north the pebble beach of Punticedda, or the small cove of Curruggio.

    Punta Cavazzi Lighthouse


    The Trails

    Just east of the village, the Rocca della Falconiera is one of the most beautiful places on the island, an archaeological site with above all a superb view, as well as tombs from the 3rd-century BC, and at the foot of the promontory of early Christian remains and a Roman necropolis carved into the rock.

    The place was fortified by the Bourbons, as were the defensive towers (the Santa Maria Tower and the Spalmatore Tower). The Church of Ferdinando Re in the central square is the main religious building on the island, together with the Church of Santa Maria dei sette Dolori.

    Several trails go around the island, crossing its Mediterranean scrub and passing through the most beautiful places, which you can explore on foot, by bike, or even on the back of a donkey! On foot, it takes about 5 hours to completely circle the coast (with about a third asphalted). The main path runs along the south coast (Sentinel del Mezzogiorno), connecting the Torre Santa Maria in the south of the village near Cala San Paolo (where a deep crack is visible), to the Punta Cavazzi via the Punta Galera.

    Other trails cross the island, such as the Sentiero del Bosco which starts north from the town hall square, passes overhanging Cala Giaconi, then through a 19th-century sanctuary, the Scoglio del Sacramento rock, the Gorgo Maltese which collected rainwater from the Romans, to the tip of the island with the prehistoric village of Faraglioni.

    Cala Giaconie

    Leave a comment

    Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

    Award Winning Customer Service

    Free Worldwide Shipping

    30-Day Money Back Guarantee

    Satisfaction Guaranteed