Favignana is a municipality with 4,383 inhabitants in the province of Trapani; it covers the Aegadian archipelago, which comprises the three main islands of Favignana, Marettimo and Levanzo, together with the smaller islands (really little more than rocks) of Maraone, Formica, Galera, Galeotta and Il Faraglione.
La Farfalla, or “The Butterfly”, as the island of Favignana is often called, on account of its shape that resembles two unfolded wings resting on the blue sea, owes its current name to the Favonio wind, whereas in the past it used to be called Aegusa.The island is famous for its tuna fishing.
This age-old tradition is said to have been practised by the Phoenicians, but it was the Arabs who developed the ritual that remains the basis for tuna fishing today: an almost spiritual rite, complete with songs (“scialome”) invoking good luck and warding off evil spirits, which culminates in a bloody battle, fought almost body to body with these enormous fish.
The island of Favignana lies about 7 miles off the coast of Sicily, between Trapani and Marsala, facing the Stagnone Islands and Trapani’s "Birgi" airport.
The island covers about 20 square kilometres; the Montagna Grossa which, despite its name meaning “Large Mountain”, is no more than 302 metres high, runs along its western “wing”. The eastern part is flatter and the island’s main settlement can be found here. The wonderful, jagged coastline features a number of delightful small sandy beaches.