Sailing the Aegadian Islands – Favignana – Isole Egadi

Aegadian Islands |Isole Egadi - Favignana View from Above looking down at the town and port with all of the boats

On a private sailing trip around the Aegadian Islands / Isole Egadi I found favolosa Favignana… a paradise for sea-foodies, sun-worshipers, castle ruins, rocky beaches, & Sicilian Delights where every body is a comedian!  Welcome to Favignana, Sicily a chill-tastic island in the Aegadian Islands, Isole Egadi

What day is it? Is it Friday or Tuesday, can’t remember.  What’s the name of this island? The most common questions you will hear on any sailing or cruising trip!  To be honest, I didn’t even know these islands existed : Isole Egadi.  Where? Agadi… Egodi, Argandi… wherever!?!?! Let’s go! Andiamo !!!

For 5 nights cruising through the Aegadian Islands in June, we chartered a bare-boat sailboat with my husband as our Captain.  Departure City – Marsalla, Sicily.  First stop Favignana, Sicily, Italy.  I have wanted to return to Sicily for over a year now.  My first experience in Sicily was overwhelming and I was frightened the entire time.  Whole families of 4 cramped onto tiny scooters with no helmets and forget about the baby seats!  Traffic Lights -unlit- that stayed in the off position likely because no one paid any attention to them when they were even on! It appeared to me as utter Chaos of a bustling busy island. That was eight years ago when I didn’t speak Italian and was quite still unfamiliar with the Italian customs and mannerisms.  After this sailing trip through the Aegadian Islands I have found a new love in Sicily.  There is no Luxuriousness to Favignana, don’t expect to find any fancy 5-Star hotels or luxury shopping… The Aegadian Islands will overwhelm you with amazing Sicilian Food and Huge-Hearted Southern Hospitality! Favignana is a laid-back fisherman’s Paradise on a remote and cozy Sicilian Island.  I left a piece of my heart back in the Mediterranean Sea, in the Isole Egadi (egg-gah-dee …I got it now)!

From the airport in Trapani we hop in a taxi, who I call Signor TaxiCab Confessions, to drive us to the seaport in Marsala to pick up the sailboat. Traveling with 3 Italians plus me – my husband and a married couple friends of ours. What’s the first question a traveling Italian asks any local? FOOD! Where can we get the best CIBO around here?  Spaghetti alla cernia, Spaghetti alla Vongole, Tonno fresco! Pane Buono!!!  Our Sicilian Taxi driver, who must remain unnamed or I might wake to find a horse head in my bed tonight, he filled us in on the best spots.  Find the entire TaxiCab Confessions of our Sicilian Cabby to get the full Confession.

Getting ready for departure, we fill the boat with Provisions – bread, salamis, fruit, wine, vino, wine and more vino. We do a quick check of all the boat & sailing mechanisms and are ready to go.  Accustomed to sailing in the USA & Caribbean, I ask Giacomo, the Charter representative, where is the VHF Radio. He looks at me and frowns, cocking his head to the side he says, “Che Radio? Ma Dai! Tu arrivi… fai un fischio, é chiama, GIGI!  Aiouh Way Gigi!”  Meaning, “What Radio?  No!  You don’t need that!  When you get to the port, you whistle loud and call out for Gigi.  Say Hey Gigi… I need to a place for my boat!” Which is exactly how it worked out when we arrived!  Grazie Gigi! Upon arrival in the port, Gigi greeted us in his gommone, his motor raft and we docked our Sailboat in our slip where we stayed for the first two nights of our Sailing trip through the Aegadian Islands.

Sailing over to Favignana from Marsalla we saw the bustling island of Sicily on our starboard side and beautiful Mediterranean Sea all around us.  Our voyage to Favignana was a smooth 2 hours of sailing with the light winds and a cool breeze.  Having only slept 4 hours the night before due to a 6 am flight form Pisa, there was no use fighting the need for some shut eye.  As much as I wanted to be present and taking thousands of photographs, all I could do was lay out my towel on the deck and be rocked peacefully by the movement of Bonita, our 40 foot sailboat.  We stopped for lunch in Lido Burrone, a tranquil calla looking over at the limestone cliffs of the island.  What do Italians do after lunch? Fare una pisolina dopopranzo, un after-lunch nap! Like best sailing trips, we all slept for a good two hours, minus the interruption of the Carabiniere Nautica, the Italian Coastal Police.  They wanted to see all of our documents and insurance; maybe they were looking for stolen boats… not sure.  Luckilly we had everything they needed to see and left us to our pizzolina.

The first night we relaxed in the cafès & wandered the town of Favignana in search of great Sicilian Cuisine.  I had researched on Trip Advisor and knew to go to Trattoria Da Papu, but they were full for the night, good for them.  A few steps away in Piazza Matrice we found Trattoria Due Collonne, which turned out as a wonderful experience, dining al fresco on the patio. Not a fan of mussels myself but delighted to my surprise I ate the best most fresh mussels I have ever tried in my life.  We shared a plate of their local pasta, busiate – a twisted short pasta similar to rotini, but better!!! Delicious as well.   When in Favignana, it’s a sin not to try the famous fresh Tuna!  Of course we ordered the tuna steak, cooked rare that cut like soft butter and melted in my mouth.  Favoloso restaurant with great value & exceptional service from a really hot typical-Italian-looking (soft olive skin, dark eyes, dark hair, very attractive) waiter, not bad on the stomach and easy on the eyes!  Then came the food-coma along with sailing and sunning exhaustion … Nite Nite Isole Egadi!

Day two in Favignana, we woke early to wander through the fishermen’s port to see what was on the menu – Catch of the Day.  Strolling past the weathered fisherman toying with fish nets in wooden colorful boats, stray napping cats & dogs, seagulls perched in the sun,  with the amphibious aromas overpowering the breeze is a time traveling experience back into the nautical past.  We stopped in Bar du Marinu to grab our morning café espresso with the locals.   The barista must double as a stand-up comedian by night, all the patrons in tears of laughter at his off-color humor and banter.  Translating humor from one language to the next never seems to come across in the same sense… but see if you laugh.  A guy walks in the bar and asks for an espresso. The bartender asks him if he would like it served with a side of “Va funculo.” He explains that the healthy daily dose of “Va Funculo” is about four a day, but no more than that… I leave that translation to google and you!  Its funny ~ Living in Italy I love to hear the men teasing each other with a crude vengeance, but trust … me its an enormous sign of endearment!

Aegadian Islands| Isole Egadi - Favignana, Sicily Italy ~ Our new-friend Vito's Salumaria Lunch Truck stocked with all the local gourmet treats available: Lattume di Tonno, Lattigini, Bottarga di Tonno, pane Cuzato, mortadella, etc.

Aegadian Islands | Isole Egadi – Favignana, Sicily Italy ~ Our new-friend Vito’s Salumaria Lunch Truck stocked with all the local gourmet treats available: Lattume di Tonno, Lattigini, Bottarga di Tonno, pane Cuzato, mortadella, etc.

Our daily agenda includes a visit to Castello Santa Caterina by hiking to the top of Favignana’s highest point at 1030 very steep feet uphill (314 meters) and we are gonna need a snack!  Notice in the photo above just how high our hike is to the Castelo!?!?!?! Yikes!  We find a Salumaria Lunch truck and we are all in line to see what local gourmets he has to offer! Just looking for a sandwich to grab and go, we met by Vito & his lovely wife who own the FoodTruck! He allures us with his delicacies as he commences to have us “taste this, try that, now you can’t leave the Aegadian Islands without Lattume!”  He prepares us all little bites of bread with a gelatin spread of Lattume.  As my husband finishes the taste in one bite, Vito looks straight at me & tells me that I better be careful tonight in bed because I am gonna get it good!  I later learn that Lattume, is a haute cuisine prepared of… Tuna Sperm!  Supposedly an aphrodisiac that transforms regular guys into SuperMen in the bedroom!  Look out that Baby might happen tonight!!! Vito amuses us with stories and jokes all along teasing us all. He says that every night he and his whole family, (Vito got 4 babies to feed!) sit and pray together but not too long cause he gotta go make love to his sexy wife, every night!  Big smiles, we hug and kiss Vito and his wife and thank them for their hospitality and sheer kindness.  We leave with bottles of local tuna in olive oil, bottarga, lunch meat and Forget the sandwich we came for!  We had a full meal full after having tried EVERYTHING he offers in his truck! Grazie mille Vito… tu sei il grande… il migliore in Favignana!

Full bellied, we set off on our uphill journey to the Castello di Santa Caterina ...

Read More ~ Day 3 & 4 where we sail off to a little piece of heaven on the smaller of the Isole Egadi, Marettimo Sicily Italy

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