The AEGADIAN ISLANDS (Italian : Isole Egadi; Sicilian : Ìsuli
Ègadi, Latin : Aegates Insulae, Greek : Αιγάται Νήσοι,
meaning "the islands of goats") are a group of five small mountainous
islands in the
Mediterranean Sea off the northwest coast of
Italy , near the cities of
Marsala , with a total area of
37.45 square kilometres (14.46 sq mi).
The Island of
Favignana (Aegusa), the largest, lies 16 kilometres
(9.9 mi) southwest of Trapani;
Levanzo (Phorbantia) lies 13 kilometres
(8.1 mi) west; and
Marettimo , the ancient Iera Nesos, 24 kilometres
(15 mi) west of Trapani, is now reckoned as a part of the group. There
are also two minor islands, Formica and Maraone, lying between Levanzo
and Sicily. For administrative purposes the archipelago constitutes
the comune of
Favignana in the Province of
The overall population in 1987 was estimated at about 5,000. Winter
frost is unknown and rainfall is low. The main occupation of the
islanders is fishing, and the largest tuna fishery in
Sicily is here.
Favignana A view from
Levanzo. On the horizon
Marettimo is faintly visible.
There is evidence of
Neolithic and even
Paleolithic paintings in
caves on Levanzo, and to a lesser extent on Favignana.
The islands were the scene of the
Battle of the Aegates
Battle of the Aegates of 241 BC, in
which the Carthaginian fleet was defeated by the Roman fleet led by C.
Lutatius Catulus ; the engagement ended the
First Punic War . After
the end of Western Roman power in the first millennium AD, the
islands, to the extent that they were governed at all, were part of
Saracens , before the Normans
Favignana in 1081.
The islands belonged to the Pallavicini-Rusconi family of
1874, when the
Florio family of
Palermo bought them.
Coordinates : 37°58′N 12°12′E / 37.967°N 12.200°E /