Silversea Luxury Cruises A Ustica, Santi Lisciotto

Rising from the waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea, the volcanic island of Ustica, know as the "Black Pearl of the Mediterranean", is composed of dark, petrified, rather foreboding-looking lava. The Romans, in fact, named it ustum ("burnt"), because it looked to them like a large black rock. Both this turtle-shaped island and its main port are called Ustica. A visit here is a trip to unknown, offbeat Sicily. Even many Palermitans, who live a short ferry ride away, have never visited Ustica. View more

The village of Ustica is set on a tufa ledge between two inlets, lying in the shadow of Capo Falconara, whose summit is crowned with the remains of a fortress erected by the Bourbons. The history of the island is ancient; it was once inhabited by the Phoenicians. In time they were followed by the Greeks, who named the island Osteodes ("ossuary"), in memory of the skeletons of 6,000 Carthaginians, mutineers who were brought here and abandoned without food or water. Saracen pirates raided the island over the years, carrying off the prettiest ladies. Attempts to colonize it in the Middle Ages failed because of raids by Barbary pirates. The Bourbons repopulated it in 1762 with people from the Aeolian Islands and Naples. They constructed a trio of towers to defend the island against pirates. As late as the 1950s, Ustica was a penal colony, a sort of Alcatraz of Sicily. Antonio Gramsci, the theorist of the Italian Communist Party, was once imprisoned here. And, in one of the most secret meetings of World War II, British and Italian officers met here in September 1943 to discuss a switch in sides from Mussolini to the Allies. Ustica is tiny, only 8.6 sq. km (3.3 sq. miles). The top of a submerged volcano, it is the oldest island in the Sicilian outer archipelago -- even older than the Aeolian islands, one of which is Lipari, which it resembles.

An Introduction to Silversea Cruises

The romance of the seas, small ship sizes and intimate atmosphere, Silversea has long been a leader in the ultra-luxury market. Travelling to both iconic and secluded ports, Silversea’s award-winning itineraries inspire wanderlust and exploration. With over 900 destinations, longer port stays and more late-night departures than ever before, even the savviest traveler will find something new. A butler for every suite, a complimentary in-suite bar stocked with your preferences, all-inclusive exquisite dining, award-winning onboard entertainment and an unparalleled space to guest ratio all contribute to the Silversea experience. Not forgetting our famed Italian hospitality, where new faces become old friends. Bienvenuti a bordo.

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Ustica, Santi Lisciotto