Pantelleria, the ancient Cossyra or Cossura, is an Italian island and comune in the Strait of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea, 100 km (62 mi) southwest of Sicily and 60 km (37 mi) east of the Tunisian coast. On clear days Tunisia is visible from the island. Administratively Pantelleria's comune belongs to the Sicilian province of Trapani.
With an area of 83 km2 (32 sq mi), it is the largest volcanic satellite island of Sicily. The last eruption occurred below sea level in 1891, and today phenomena related to volcanic activity can be observed, such as hot springs and fumaroles.
The highest peak, called Montagna Grande, reaches 836 m (2,743 ft) above sea level.
|Comune di Pantelleria|
Panorama of Pantelleria
Coat of arms
Location of Pantelleria
Location of Pantelleria in Sicily
|• Mayor||Vincenzo Vittorio Campo|
|• Total||84.53 km2 (32.64 sq mi)|
|Elevation||836 m (2,743 ft)|
|• Density||92/km2 (240/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
|Patron saint||St. Fortunatus|
The Greek geographers recorded it as Kossyra (Ancient Greek: Κόσσυρα) and Kossyros (Ancient Greek: Κόσσυρος), which became the Latin Cossura. This appears in Arabic as Qawṣirah (قوصرة) and Maltese as the former name Qawsra.
The original Arab name for the island was Bint al-Riyāh (بنت الرياح), meaning "Daughter of the Winds" after the strong gales that can arise off the north coast of Africa.
Its Sicilian name is Pantiddirìa, which gave rise to the present Maltese name Pantellerija.
Archaeological exploration has unearthed dwellings and artifacts 35,000 years old.
The original population of Pantelleria did not come from Sicily, but were of Iberian or Ibero-Ligurian stock. After a considerable interval, during which the island probably remained uninhabited, the Carthaginians took possession of it, no doubt owing to its importance as a station on the way to Sicily. This probably occurred around the beginning of the 7th century BC. Their acropolis was the twin hill of San Marco and Santa Teresa, 2 km (1.2 mi) south of the present town of Pantelleria. The town has considerable remains of walls made of rectangular blocks of masonry and also of a number of cisterns. Punic tombs have been discovered, and the votive terra-cottas of a small sanctuary of the Punic period were found near the north coast.
The Romans occupied the island as the Fasti Triumphales record in 255 BC, lost it again the next year, and recovered it in 217 BC. It struck bronze coins, originally with a Punic inscription but changing to Latin by the 1st century BC. Under the empire, it served as a place of banishment for prominent persons and members of the imperial family. The town enjoyed municipal rights.
In AD 700, Arabs conquered the island. In 1123, Roger II of Sicily took the island, and in 1311 an Aragonese fleet under the command of Lluís de Requesens won a considerable victory here. Requesens's family became princes of Pantelleria until 1553, when the Turks captured the island. A naval battle took place near the island in July 1586 when an armed English merchant fleet of five ships managed to repel an attack by eleven Spanish and Maltese galleys.
A Siculo-Arabic dialect similar to Maltese was the vernacular of the island until the late 18th century, when the Romance Sicilian superseded it. The modern Sicilian language in Pantelleria contains many Arabic loanwords, and most of the island's place names are of Semitic origin.
During the Napoleonic Wars, the British considered the possibility of taking over Pantelleria (together with Lampedusa and Linosa) so as to be able to supply Malta, but a Royal Commission stated in an 1812 report that there would be considerable difficulties in this venture.
Pantelleria's capture was regarded as crucial to Operation Husky, the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943 as planes based on Pantelleria could readily reach Sicily. In Operation Corkscrew the Allies bombarded Pantelleria heavily from air and sea in the days before the invasion. The garrison surrendered as the landing troops approached. Pantelleria then became a vital base for Allied aircraft during the assault on Sicily.
The island of Pantelleria is located above a drowned continental rift in the Strait of Sicily and has been the focus of intensive volcano-tectonic activity. The 15 kilometre-long (9.3 mi) island is the emergent summit of a largely submarine edifice. Two large Pleistocene calderas dominate the island, the older of the two formed about 114,000 years ago and the younger Cinque Denti caldera formed about 45,000 years ago. The eruption that formed the Cinque Denti caldera produced the distinctive Green Tuff deposit that covers much of the island, and is found across the Mediterranean, as far away as the island of Lesbos in the Aegean. Holocene eruptions have constructed pumice cones, lava domes, and short, blocky lava flows.
Post Green Tuff activity constructed the cone of Monte Gibele, part of which was subsequently uplifted to form Montagna Grande. Several vents are located on three sides of the uplifted Montagna Grande block on the southeast side of the island. A submarine eruption in 1891 from a vent off the northwest coast is the only confirmed historical activity.
Currently the island is subsiding, and Montagna Grande is slowly sinking. This is thought to be caused by the magma beneath the volcano cooling and degassing. There are numerous hot springs and fumaroles on the island due to an active hydrothermal system. Favara Grande, in the south east of the island, is one of the best examples. The island is releasing a small amount of CO2 through passive degassing. Total carbon stock in the first 30 cm (11.8 in) of soil of Pantelleria is about 230,000 Mg. The island is the type locality for peralkaline rhyolitic rocks, pantellerites.
A large nature reserve is on the island, and a natural lake, called Specchio di Venere (Venus' mirror). It formed in an extinct volcanic crater, and is fed by rain and hot springs. The lake is 12 m (39 ft) deep and is popular for swimming, hot springs, and mud bathing. Other natural attractions are paths to the sea, a large network of trekking paths, hot springs, and a popular natural sauna fed by vapours filtering through rocks in a small cave. Also situated on the Island is "Laghetto delle Ondine" (English: pond of the ripples or pond of the wavelets) a seawater lake which has developed into a very desired swimming hole.
A Middle Bronze Age village was on the west coast, 3 km (1.9 mi) southeast of the harbour, with a rampart of small blocks of lava, about 7.5 m (25 ft) high, 10 m (33 ft) wide at the base and 5 m (16 ft) at the top, upon the undefended eastern side. Remains of huts were found there, with pottery, tools of obsidian, and other artifacts. These objects are in the museum at Syracuse.
To the southeast, in the district known as the Cunelie, are many tombs, known as sesi. They are similar in character to the nuraghe of Sardinia, though of smaller size, and consist of round or elliptical towers with sepulchral chambers in them, built of rough blocks of lava. Fifty-seven of them can still be traced. The largest is an ellipse of about 18 by 20 m (59 by 66 ft), but most of the sesi have a diameter of only 6 to 7 m (20 to 23 ft). The identical character of the pottery found in the sesi with that found in the prehistoric village proves that the former are the tombs of the inhabitants of the latter.
The island has scattered typical one-level buildings called dammuso of unknown but probably remote origins. A dammuso is a dry stone building with thick walls that usually appear black due to the extensive use of volcanic rock. They have characteristic domes on top painted white to avoid overheating. The domes collect rainwater that is directed to a large tank (usually below the building) or to the nearby soil for use in the dry season.
Most of the other constructions were destroyed during the Second World War. One notable exception is the castle Barbacane, a renaissance building formed by an irregularly quadrangular plan with internal court joined to a squared base tower.
Pantelleria is noted for its sweet wines, Moscato di Pantelleria and Moscato Passito di Pantelleria, both made from the local Zibibbo grape. In 2014, the traditional agricultural practice of cultivating the 'vite ad alberello' (head-trained bush vines) of the community of Pantelleria was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of Unesco (see ).
The island is served by Pantelleria Airport, which is served by Alitalia, connecting Trapani and Palermo and other companies in summer, connecting the island with Italian cities such as Milan, Rome, Venice and others. Ferries reach the island from Trapani, and it is near the main east-west route through the Mediterranean Sea.
The 47th Air Division is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with Strategic Air Command at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington. It was inactivated on 27 February 1987.
The unit's origins begin with its predecessor, the World War II 47th Bombardment Wing was part of Fifteenth Air Force. Although earmarked for Eighth Air Force, it served instead with the Twelfth, and later, Fifteenth Air Forces, first as a fighter wing, then as a medium bomb wing, and finally as a heavy bomb wing. In the 1942 early 1943 period many of its assigned components did not actually operate under wing control, while other components were temporarily attached. Its components supported the bombing of Pantelleria Island and the invasions of Sicily, Italy, and southern France in 1943–1944. Wing aircraft also flew missions to the Balkans, Austria, France, and Germany, with the Rumanian oil fields as primary targets from April–August 1944. The final mission on 25 April 1945 struck marshalling yards at Linz, Austria. It returned to the United States in May 1945 to prepare for bombardment operations in the Pacific as a very heavy bombardment wing. On 7 September 1945, the wing became a paper unit and in mid Oct inactivated at Sioux City, Iowa.
Reactivated an intermediate command echelon of Strategic Air Command in June 1952, the 47th Air Division served as an intermediate echelon between Strategic Air Command's Eighth Air Force and operational units in the field. From April 1955 to March 1970, it filled the same role for the Fifteenth Air Force and from March 1970 to July 1971, for the Second Air Force. In July 1971 the 47th returned to Fifteenth Air Force control where it continued to supervise subordinate unit training and other activities.
The eruption of Mount St Helens in the state of Washington in May 1980 seriously affected division operations. Aircraft were dispersed to various bases while around the clock shifts removed the volcanic ash. The division as inactivated in February 1987 as a result of budget restraints.Aenigmatite
Aenigmatite, also known as Cossyrite after Cossyra, the ancient name of Pantelleria, is a sodium, iron, titanium inosilicate mineral. The chemical formula is Na2Fe2+5TiSi6O20 and its structure consists of single tetrahedral chains with a repeat unit of four and complex side branches. It forms brown to black triclinic lamellar crystals. It has Mohs hardness of 5.5 to 6 and specific gravity of 3.74 to 3.85. Aenigmatite forms a solid-solution series with wilkinsonite, Na2Fe2+4Fe3+2Si6O20.
Aenigmatite is primarily found in peralkaline volcanic rocks, pegmatites, and granites as well as silica-poor intrusive rocks. It was first described by August Breithaupt in 1865 for an occurrence in the Ilimaussaq intrusive complex of southwest Greenland. Its name comes from αίνιγμα, the Greek word for "riddle".
It was also reported from the Kaidun meteorite, possibly a Mars meteorite, which landed on March 1980 in South Yemen. Other notable studied occurrences include:
Narsaarsuk and elsewhere in Greenland.
The Khibiny and Lovozero alkaline massifs on Kola Peninsula, Russia.
The volcanic island of Pantelleria, Italy.
In the US, from Granite Mountain, near Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas, and Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, California.
In Australia, from Warrumbungle volcano, Nandewar volcano, and the Mount Warning complex, New South Wales; and the Peak Range Province, Queensland.
In Canada, from Mount Edziza, the Ilgachuz and Rainbow Range shield complexes.
From Logan Point quarry, Dunedin volcano, New Zealand.Battle of Pantelleria (1586)
The Battle of Pantelleria (1586) also known as the Fight at Pantalarea was a naval engagement that took place during the Anglo–Spanish War off the island of Pantelleria on 13 July 1586. The encounter was between an English armed merchant fleet of five ships of the Levant Company in convoy under Edward Wilkinson and a fleet of eleven Spanish and Maltese galleys under Don Pedro de Leyva. The English managed to repel all the attacks and returned home unmolested. Although minor the battle had significant consequences in testing English firepower of which was to be used against the Spanish armada two years later when England was under threat of invasion.HMS P33 (1941)
HMS P33 was a Royal Navy U-class submarine built by Vickers-Armstrong at Barrow-in-Furness.
Commanded throughout her entire career by Lieutenant R.D. Whiteway-Wilkinson, the submarine was attached to the 10th Submarine Flotilla based at Malta. On 15 July 1941, the submarine sunk the 5,300 ton motor-vessel Barbarigo south of Punta Sciaccazza, Pantelleria, part of a small Italian convoy.
The submarine departed on her final patrol on 6 August 1941 from Malta to patrol off Sicily to intercept an Italian convoy heading towards Libya. Her sister boat P32, which was attacking the same convoy along with HMS Unique, reported hearing a prolonged depth charge attack on 18 August and subsequently attempted unsuccessfully to contact P33. P32 was herself sunk later that day. P33 became overdue on 20 August and was almost certainly have been sunk in this attack. It is, however, possible that she was sunk by the Italian torpedo boat Partenope near Pantelleria on 23 August. Lost aboard P33 was Lieutenant Richard Cunningham, the son of Vice Admiral John Cunningham, who would later become First Sea Lord.Italian cruiser Alberto da Giussano
Alberto da Giussano (named after Alberto da Giussano, a fictional medieval military leader condottiero) was an Italian Giussano-class cruiser, which served in the Regia Marina during World War II. She was launched on 27 April 1930.
She participated in the normal peacetime activities of the fleet in the 1930s as a unit of the 2nd Squadron, including service in connection with the Spanish Civil War. On 10 June 1940 she was part of the 4th Cruiser Division, with the 1st Squadron, together with her sister ship Alberico da Barbiano and was present at the Battle of Punta Stilo in July. She carried out a minelaying sortie off Pantelleria in August, and for the rest of the year acted as distant cover on occasions for troop and supply convoys to North Africa.
On 12 December 1941 she left port together with her sister ship Alberico da Barbiano. Both she and her sister were being used for an emergency convoy to carry gasoline for the German and Italian mobile formations fighting with the Afrika Korps. Jerry cans and other metal containers filled with gasoline were loaded onto both cruisers and were placed on the ships' open decks. The thinking behind using these two cruisers for such a dangerous mission was that their speed would act as a protection. Nonetheless, the ships were intercepted by four Allied destroyers guided by radar on 13 December 1941, in the Battle of Cape Bon. Alberto da Giussano was able to fire only three salvos before being struck by a torpedo amidships and hit by gunfire, which left her disabled and dead in the water. After vain struggle to halt the fire, the crew had to abandon the ship, which broke in two and sank at 4.22. 283 men out of the 720 aboard lost their lives. The ship's commanding officer, Captain Giovanni Marabotto, was among the survivors.La Sebala Airfield
La Sebala Airfield is an abandoned World War II military airfield in Tunisia, which was located about 1 km north of Cebalat; 15 km north-northwest of Tunis. It was a temporary airfield constructed by Army Engineers using compacted earth for its runway, parking and dispersal areas, not designed for heavy aircraft or for long-term use.
The airfield was used by the United States Army Air Force Twelfth Air Force 52d Fighter Group between 21 May and 30 July 1943, flying combat operations with P-40 Warhawks over Sicily and Italy, as well as taking part in the Pantelleria reduction.
After the 52d moved to Boccadifalco on Sicily, the airfield was closed and dismantled. Today, there is traces of the airfield remaining on the landscape visible from aerial photography, but no buildings or physical features.Linosa
Linosa (Sicilian: Linusa) is one of the Pelagie Islands in the Sicily Channel of the Mediterranean Sea.
The island is a part of the comune of Lampedusa e Linosa, part of the province of Agrigento, Sicily. It has a population of 430.Marsala wine
Marsala is a wine, dry or sweet, produced in the region surrounding the Italian city of Marsala in Sicily. Marsala first received Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) status in 1969.
The DOC status is equivalent to PDO: most countries limit the use of the term Marsala to those wines that come from the Marsala area, to which the European Union grants Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status.While the city's natives sometimes drink "vintage" Marsala, the wine produced for export is universally fortified similar to Port, Madeira and Sherry. Originally, this addition of alcohol was to ensure that it would last on long ocean voyages, but now it is made that way because of its popularity in foreign markets.Muscat of Alexandria
Muscat of Alexandria is a white wine grape that is a member of the Muscat family of Vitis vinifera. It is considered an "ancient vine", and wine experts believe it is one of the oldest genetically unmodified vines still in existence. It is still an important grape in the Australian and South African wine industry. It is also cultivated very heavily on the islands of Samos, and Lemnos in the North Eastern Aegean region of Greece, and reputedly Cleopatra drank muscat wine from there. It is also thought to rival the French Beaume de Venise in its most refined form. In Italy wine is made from the grape on the island of Pantelleria, and in Spain, the grape is used for wine around Málaga, Alicante, Valencia, and the Canary Islands. It is grown in Sicily where it is known as Zibibbo. The grape originated in North Africa, and the name is probably derived from its association with Ancient Egyptians who used the grape for wine making. It is also a table grape used for eating and raisins.Operation Corkscrew
Operation Corkscrew was the code name for the Allied invasion of the Italian island of Pantelleria (between Sicily and Tunisia) on 11 June 1943, prior to the Allied invasion of Sicily during the Second World War. There had been an early plan to occupy the island in late 1940 (Operation Workshop), but this was aborted when the Luftwaffe strengthened the Axis air threat in the region.Operation Harpoon (1942)
Operation Harpoon (the Battle of Pantelleria) was one of two simultaneous Allied convoys sent to supply Malta in the Axis-dominated central Mediterranean Sea in mid-June 1942, during the Second World War. Operation Vigorous was a westward convoy from Alexandria and the convoy of Operation Harpoon travelled east from Gibraltar. Two of the six ships in the Harpoon convoy completed the journey, at the cost of several Allied warships. The Vigorous convoy was driven back by the Italian fleet and attacks by Axis aircraft.
News of the two operations had been unwittingly revealed beforehand to the Axis by the US Military Attaché in Egypt, Colonel Bonner Fellers, who had been submitting detailed military reports on British activities to Washington in a code that was later revealed by Ultra intercepts to have been broken by the Servizio Informazioni Militare (Italian military intelligence).Pantelleria Airport
Pantelleria Airport (IATA: PNL, ICAO: LICG) is a regional airport on the Italian island of Pantelleria. It is located 5 km from the town centre and features both regular and charter flights from and to Sicily and mainland Italy.Pantellerite
Pantellerite is type of volcanic rock, specifically a peralkaline rhyolite. It has a higher iron and lower aluminium composition than comendite. It is named after Pantelleria, a volcanic island in the Strait of Sicily and the type location for this rock. On Pantelleria the rock is usually found as a vitrophyre containing phenocrysts of anorthoclase or sanidine. Quartz is found only in the most strongly peralkaline rocks. Mafic minerals may include aegirine, fayalite, aenigmatite, ilmenite, and sodic amphibole (often arfvedsonite or ferrorichterite).Pantesca salad
The Pantesca salad or Pantelleria salad (Italian: insalata pantesca) is a typical dish of the island of Pantelleria.
It is prepared with boiled potatoes, tomatoes and red onions, seasoned with pitted olives, Pantelleria capers, oregano and olive oil.. It is usually accompanied by mackerel in oil, but also by typical fresh cheeses such as tumma or boiled egg pieces. In ancient times, roasted dried fish was used instead of mackerel.Pantesco
The Pantesco or Asino di Pantelleria is a breed of donkey from the Mediterranean island of Pantelleria, south-west of Sicily. It is at high risk of extinction and was listed as "critical" by the FAO in 2007. It is one of the eight autochthonous donkey breeds of limited distribution recognised by the Ministero delle Politiche Agricole Alimentari e Forestali, the Italian ministry of agriculture and forestry.Pelagie Islands
The Pelagie Islands (Italian: Isole Pelagie, Sicilian: Ìsuli Pilaggî), from the Greek πέλαγος, pélagos meaning "open sea", are the three small islands of Lampedusa, Linosa, and Lampione, located in the Mediterranean Sea between Malta and Tunisia, south of Sicily. To the northwest lie the island of Pantelleria and the Strait of Sicily. Geographically, part of the archipelago (Lampedusa and Lampione) belongs to the African continent and it is an Italian maritime exclave in the Tunisian continental shelf; politically and administratively the islands fall within the Sicilian province of Agrigento and represent the southernmost part of Italy.
Despite pockets of agriculture, the islands are unnaturally barren due to wanton deforestation and the disappearance of the native olive groves, juniper and carob plantations. Fifty years ago much of the landscape was farmland bounded by dry stone walls but today, the local economy is based on fishing – sponge fishing and canning – supplemented by tourism in Lampedusa.Province of Trapani
Trapani (Italian: Provincia di Trapani, Sicilian: Pruvincia di Tràpani; officially Libero consorzio comunale di Trapani) is a province in the autonomous island region of Sicily, southern Italy. Following the suppression of the Sicilian provinces, it was replaced in 2015 by the Free municipal consortium of Trapani. Its capital is the city of Trapani. It has an area of 2,469.62 square kilometres (953.53 sq mi) and a total population of 433,826 (2017). There are 24 comunes (Italian: comuni) in the province (see Comuni of the Province of Trapani).
Besides the capital Trapani, other cities and places of interest in the province include Segesta, Gibellina, Erice, Castelvetrano, Alcamo, Marsala, Mazara del Vallo, Castellammare del Golfo, and Mozia. The nearby island of Pantelleria, noted for its wine production, and the Aegadian Islands are also administratively a part of Trapani province. The Province of Trapani is a major centre for viticulture.Strait of Sicily
The Strait of Sicily (also known as Sicilian Strait, Sicilian Channel, Channel of Sicily, Sicilian Narrows and Pantelleria Channel; Italian: Canale di Sicilia or the Stretto di Sicilia; Sicilian: Canali di Sicilia or Strittu di Sicilia, Arabic: مضيق صقلية Mażīq siqilliyya or Arabic: مضيق الوطن القبلي Mażīq al-Waṭan al-Qiblī) is the strait between Sicily and Tunisia. The strait is about 145 kilometres (90 mi) wide and divides the Tyrrhenian Sea and the western Mediterranean Sea, from the eastern Mediterranean Sea. The maximum depth is 316 meters (1,037 ft).
Deep currents in the strait flow from east to west, and the current nearer the surface travels from west to east. This unusual water flow is of interest to oceanographers.There are regular ferries between Sicily and Tunis across the Strait of Sicily.
The island of Pantelleria lies in the middle of the strait.Volcanology of Italy
Italy is a volcanically active country, containing the only active volcanoes in mainland Europe. The country's volcanism is due chiefly to the presence, a short distance to the south, of the boundary between the Eurasian Plate and the African Plate. The magma erupted by Italy's volcanoes is thought to result from the subduction and melting of one plate below another.
Three main clusters of volcanism exist: a line of volcanic centres running northwest along the central part of the Italian mainland (see: Campanian volcanic arc); a cluster in the northeast of Sicily; and another cluster around the Mediterranean island of Pantelleria.
|Climate data for Pantelleria 1971-2000|
|Record high °C (°F)||21.6
|Average high °C (°F)||13.9
|Daily mean °C (°F)||11.9
|Average low °C (°F)||10.0
|Record low °C (°F)||1.0
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||76.3
|Average rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm)||8.7||7.9||6.0||5.4||2.5||0.9||0.2||0.6||3.4||6.6||8.3||8.2||58.7|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||124.0||138.4||186.0||207.0||257.3||282.0||322.4||310.0||237.0||201.5||156.0||124.0||2,545.6|
|Source: Atlante climatico frommeteoam.it|
Islands of Italy in the Mediterranean
Outlying territories of European countries
Territories under European sovereignty but closer to or on continents other than Europe (see inclusion criteria for further information).