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The Gate of Europe:

Inaugurated on 29 June 2008, the "Gate of Europe" is a monument dedicated to migrants who face endless adversities, who come to the island in search of a more dignified life.

It is a refractory ceramic door five meters high and three meters wide, made by the Italian sculptor, the artist Mimmo Palladino.

The Monument, located in the "white horse" area between Cala Spongne and "Porto Vecchio" is dedicated to the memory of the migrants who died at sea, in an attempt to reach the coasts of the island.

Porta d'Europa

"Island of Lampedusa" Nature Reserve

The Isola di Lampedusa oriented nature reserve is a nature reserve established in 1995 by the Sicilian Region , located on the largest of the Pelagie Islands , in a special protection area (SPA) and site of Community importance, between the Vallone dell'Acqua to the west. and Cala Greca to the east, and also includes the Isola dei Conigli " the beautiful beach of Lampedusa which in 2013 was classified as the most beautiful beach in the world at the Travelers' Choice Beaches Awards, organized by TripAdvisor which elects the most beautiful beaches of all the world.

The beach of Conigli can only be accessed on foot, along a steep path about 750 m long. For its use it is necessary to respect timetables and behavioral rules, contributing to the conservation of the sea turtle and enjoying a true corner of paradise.

Inside the Reserve it is also possible to follow some paths for the exploration of the coast and the valleys and for the observation of flora and fauna. Of great naturalistic and landscape interest is the itinerary that follows for about 1.5 km the articulated natural path of the Vallone della Forbice, the longest and most spectacular canyon, of great vegetational interest, which ends in the enchanting beach of Cala Pulcino, where the sea takes on an intense turquoise color. Very suggestive is the path that from Cala Stretta leads to the fascinating beach of Cala Galera, where in the homonymous valley the residual aspects of the Mediterranean scrub and some splendid centuries-old specimens of Juniper and Carob are preserved. Full of exciting viewpoints on the west coast of the reserve is the path that follows the forest trails above the crests of the Deep Valloni and dell'Acqua, crossing the plateau of C.da Sanguedolce, where the interventions of reconstitution of the Mediterranean scrub are visible. started by the Forestry Company of the Sicilian Region. Finally, following a path that connects stretches of old paths with some military tracks opened during the Second World War, you can admire the enchanting panorama overlooking the Tabaccara Cave.

The reserve is assigned under management by the Territory and Environment Department of the Sicilian Region to Legambiente Sicily.

For info on excursions and regulations within the reserve, visit:

Isola dei conigli
Tartaruga caretta caretta


Various testimonies date back to the time of the Ouarta Crusade (1202-1204), commissioned by Pope Innocent III and led by the captains Bonifacio di Monferrato and Baldovino di Fiandra together with the Venetian doge Enrico Dandolo and never arrived in the Holy Land but diverted to Constantinople, the presence unknown of an image of Mary Mother of God in a cave at the root of the Vallone called, precisely, of the Madonna.

The first to mention it is the historian and writer Fazello who in 1568 tells of the presence of "a chapel consecrated to Mary in a cave". Twenty-eight years later, in 1596, the chronicler Lorenzo d'Anania confirms that "a lamp burns continuously in front of the image of Our Lady, who has not lacked the oil supplied by Christian and Mohammedan helmsmen." Later, in 1623, Felice Astolfi states that "... in Lampedusa there is a chapel with the image of the Madonna inside ..." and in 1655 the traveler Pagnozzi adds "... worthy of great veneration is the Madonna of Lampedusa honored and revered by the Turks themselves ... "

Even the Spanish corsair Contrares confirms and describes the existence and shape of the cave that housed the image of the Madonna and concludes that Christians and Turks place food there to serve for the shipwrecked and escaped slaves. But no one should take more than necessary. If they did, it would be impossible for them to be able to get out of the port ».

More precise is the quote from the writer Francesco Maggio (1657): "The beautiful statue of the Madonna of Trapani, sculpted in Cyprus in the year 730 and transferred from Jerusalem by some Knights Templar of the city of Pisa, running storm the ship that carried it, yes he saved in Lampedusa. Of having been there the statue of Our Lady preserves the memory of it in until today a small "church which even the barbarians usually venerate"

The more detailed information will be provided by the governor of the "new colony" Bernardo Maria Sanvisente, in his detailed report to Ferdinand II. About the «chapel consecrated to Mary in a cave» he writes: «In the Vallon de la Madonna there was a small church with ancient dwellings, a dilapidated house and several caves. In the small church, which I found in a poor state, there was a statue of the Virgin mutilated and thrown to the ground. I had it restored and arranged for a mass to be sung every 22 September to solemnize the day of the restoration and possession of the island which took place on 22 September 1843 when we landed in Lampedusa with two steamers and in the name of the Bourbon government.

The aforementioned church was initially used for dual use. In fact, when I arrived on the island, at the entrance there was a room closed by a gate and all around some stone seats and other things for the Turkish religion. This place was used for Arabs who passed through here and wished to pray their religion. Further down, the gate opened, there was a second room where the faithful who wished to visit the miraculous image found the Christian altar with the already mentioned Holy Virgin on it ».

From this story it could be deduced that since then, in facts more than in intentions, still declaimed but little realized, the unity of religions, at least of the two historical antagonists, that of Islam and that of Christ, had been achieved in the small remote island of Lampedusa and at the foot of a statue of the Madonna.

With regard to the Christian and Mohammedan "double use" described by Sanvisente, legend has it that a hermit who owned

outstanding diplomatic qualities. When Mohammedans (Turks) visited the church, the hermit raised a flag with a crescent somewhere; when Christians visited it, he raised a cross. In this way the hermit obtained from both help and protection without compromising himself. After the restoration carried out by Sanvisente, the church assumed its present shape and the statue of the Madonna, in stone weighing about 150 kilos and of a rather primitive make, took the name of Madonna di Porto Salvo because it was elected protector of the people of the sea. During the last world war an air-naval bombardment destroyed a large part of the citadel and the defensive fortifications, did not spare the sanctuary while leaving the statue of the Madonna intact. And since there were no human victims, the population of Lampedusa rebuilt the small temple as a sign of gratitude to the patron Virgin. The parish priest, the very active priest Don Giuseppe Policardi, has done so

and provides with personal generosity to the maintenance of the small sanctuary and has embellished it with a flower garden of notable beauty. The necessary annual restorations, which he carries out with care and dedication, are supported by the offers that come mostly from the emigrated Lampedusans. Next to the Sanctuary there are some caves, large and intercommunicating, which are the same in which shipwrecked and runaway slaves took refuge and, later, also used by the first settlers transferred to Lampedusa with the governor Bernardo Maria Sanvisente.

Both the primitive rough stone pavements and the hollows where the ends of the poles of the large grinding wheel used for grinding the grain were inserted.

Next to a cave, and still active today, there is a large cistern that collects rainwater that flows into it from the natural channels above. A double stone basin served and is used for the transfer of water taken with the buckets and from here channeled to a stone funnel under which the container was placed so that no drop was lost or wetted the feet of those who drew.

regardless of any religious motivation, it is interesting to visit this sanctuary because it is one of the very few almost archaeological finds to be found on the island. However, it belongs to the history-legend of Lampedusa.

Taken from "The Islands of the Sun" by Enzo Mancini

U. Mursia Editore SpA - Milan

Santuario Madonna di Porto Salvo
Madonna di Porto Salvo Lampedusa
Gratta Santuario
Grotta Santuario
Chiesetta Santuario

Sea Turtle Recovery Center:

The Rescue Center annually hosts about one hundred sea turtles: most of them are accidentally caught with hooks and nets, and arrive at the small hospital thanks to the precious and fundamental collaboration of the fishermen of Mazara del Vallo, of some operators in Lampedusa, among which the support of the Police forces with the sea lookouts of the Port Authority, the Carabinieri and the Guardia di Finanza is fundamental. Many turtles arrive from Sicily, where the WWF teams, especially the guards of the Torre Salsa, Paceco and Capo Rama Nature Reserve, face the connecting journeys from the Capitanerie where the animal was transported to the Porto Empedocle ferry, in any weather. and at any time! The Rescue Center lives thanks to the commitment of volunteers, Italians and foreigners, who, especially in the summer months, assist the staff present in the activities of monitoring, recovery, care and marking of the sea turtles and in the information and awareness of the tourists who visit the island.

The Sea Turtles Rescue Center welcomes visitors who, curious about the convalescence tanks, ask for information on patients in hospital. With passion and tenacity, the volunteers, coming from all over Italy and sometimes from further afield, explain the various clinical situations, the problems connected with the survival of this endangered species, the work done to protect the turtles: their faces show everything. love that they put into this particular voluntary activity that every year allows Lampedusa to save over 150 sea turtles.

Because, hidden behind the glass, there is a strange room of miracles: the small but well-equipped surgical room! How many emotions, adventures, tears, smiles between those simple walls, shared with the veterinarians, biologists and volunteers of the Rescue Center.

The turtles that arrive in Lampedusa have sometimes come a long way, like the small light turtle coming from the Egadi Islands: a line abandoned in the sea has twisted around its fin and neck, risking to strangle it, and causing gangrene of the fin.

But the veterinary team of the Center, coordinated by Prof. Di Bello of the University of Bari, managed to block the infection and reduce the stump; now the little patient, albeit with one less fin, is ready full of health to return to the sea.

Just like the turtle that arrived from Palermo, with a bad lung infection, now resolved. In recent months the operations for the extraction of hooks or lines, a subtle but frequent danger, have been continuous: they are exciting, unforgettable moments !.

The turtle hospital is located in the old port.

Tartaruga Caretta Caretta
Centro Soccorso Tartarughe Marine


Walking along the "panoramic" road at sunset, you will be attracted by a suggestive show of colors that will leave you breathless.

It will also be possible to admire the cliffs overlooking the sea and the Vela rocks and the Faraglione.

Returning to the town, "Il Faro" deserves a stop.

Another point of interest is the Capo Grecale lighthouse from where you can enjoy a beautiful view of the coast which is already high here as for the whole north side. The Capo Grecale lighthouse, built in 1855, fulfills a fundamental function for the navigation of these beautiful waters

Tramonto lampedusano
Faro di capo grecale


The Dammuso Grande of Casa Teresa represents the architectural memory of Lampedusa. After completing the restoration work, the Superintendence of Cultural and Environmental Heritage of Agrigento inaugurated the new museum space with a documentary exhibition dedicated to the Lampedusan dammuso, the recovery and use of the archaeological areas and the landscape emergencies of the island.
With this initiative, a site of considerable monumental and ethno-anthropological interest has thus been returned to the use of the premises and all the guests of the island, making it a place of history and cultural identity that will give impetus to knowledge and full exploitation of resources of the island.

Casa Teresa
Casa Teresa
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