/ / The island of Ustica: photo description (Ustica)

The island of Ustica: photo description (Ustica)

Ustica - small - only 9 km wide island in the Tyrrhenian sea 52 km North of Capo Gallo. In the local commune of the same name, is home to around 1300 people. To get to the island is by ferry from Palermo.

Excavations in the village of Faraglioni on Ustica in 1989, brought to light the ruins of a large prehistoric settlement that existed in the 14-13 centuries BC were discovered Here base of approximately 300 stone buildings and defensive fortifications, which, as scientists believe, was one of the most reliable in Italy of that period. Historians believe that the first settlers arrived at Ustica, with the nearby Aeolian Islands.

Approximately 3.5 thousand years ago on the island there were the Phoenicians. The ancient Greeks called Ustica, Osteodes, which means "crypt," in memory of the thousands of Carthaginian mutineers left there to die of hunger in the 4th century BC the Romans gave the island its modern name, which in translation from Latin means "burnt" black color of its rocks. The locals still called Ustica, the black pearl".

In the 6th century BC Ustica was founded the first community of Benedictine, but soon it ceased to exist due to incessant wars between Europe and the Arab world. And attempts to colonize the island in the Middle ages always failed because of the trades in the Tyrrhenian sea pirates and barbarians.

Only in the mid-18th century, Ustica appeared more or less permanent settlement of 90 people arrived from the neighbouring island of Lipari. They brought with them the cult of the Apostle Bartholomew, who soon became regarded as the patron Saint of the island. From the mid 19th century and until the early 20th century, the population of Ustica has increased significantly, which caused the emigration of many families in the United States. Most of those who left settled in New Orleans and the surrounding area - and today there are living descendants of immigrants from Ustica.

In the years of the fascist regime in Italy and until the 1950s, the island was used as a prison. Mussolini sent here thousands of their political opponents, sometimes up to 1500 people at a time. Interesting fact - many of the prisoners were homosexuals.

Notoriety received Ustica in June 1980, when near the island crashed plane with 81 passengers on Board. All died.

Today Ustica is particularly popular among lovers of scuba diving - the island has several dive centers. Fans of diving attract many deep places for diving created by prehistoric volcanic activity. In addition, Ustica Archaeological Museum Torre di Santa Maria", which contains artifacts that tell about the distant past of the island, the aquarium Spalmatore with a collection of Mediterranean underwater inhabitants, and the village, founded in the bronze age.