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Trip PlannerEurope  /  Italy  /  Sicily  /  Islands of Sicily  /  Ustica

Ustica

4.6
Scuba & Snorkeling · Water Sports · Islands
Ustica is the name of a small island, about 9km across, situated 52km north of Capo Gallo, Italy in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Roughly 1,300 people live in the comune of the same name. There is regular ferry service from the island to Palermo, Italy.HistoryExcavations begun in 1989 at Faraglioni have unearthed what was a large prehistoric village dating from the 14th to the 13th century BC. The foundations of some 300 stone-built houses were discovered, and the defensive walls of the settlement are among the strongest fortifications of any period known in Italy. It is believed that these early settlers came over from the Aeolian Islands.In historic times, the island has been populated at least since about 1500 BC by Phoenician peoples. In ancient Greece, the Island was named Osteodes (ossuary) in memory of the thousands of Carthaginian mutineers left there to die of hunger in the 4th century BC. The Romans renamed the island Ustica, Latin for burnt, for its black rocks. The island is also known locally as the "black pearl".In the 6th century, a Benedictine community settled in the island, but was soon forced to move because of ongoing wars between Europeans and Arabs. Attempts to colonize the island in the Middle Ages failed because of raids by Barbary pirates.
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