Destination: Pantelleria

Discover Italy's secret island.

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Pantelleria: Italy’s secret island

Although it’s about to be immortalised​on our cinema screens as the location of A Bigger Splash, starring Tilda Swinton and Ralph Fiennes, the island of Pantelleria is one of the Mediterranean’s least-known holiday spots. Little more than a black speck in the sea between Sicily and Tunisia – the ‘black pearl of the Mediterranean’ – this rugged and sparsely populated volcanic outcrop, with terraced slopes giving way to wild, herby scrub, is the hideaway of a few shy celebrities such as Giorgio Armani and Luca Zingarelli (alias Inspector Montalbano), who both own villas here. However, it has never attracted a mass market.

No doubt this is largely because Pantelleria is not a destination for beach-lovers. Swimming is mostly off rocks; the island’s only “beach” is inland, and it’s made of mud.

But if that doesn’t sound too appealing, think again, as the Specchio di Venere (“Mirror of Venus”) – a heart-shaped lake in a volcanic crater, fed by rainwater and hot springs, and of a colour that modulates from emerald to aquamarine to turquoise to deep blue – is both luxuriously self-indulgent and gratifyingly therapeutic. Slather on the mineral-rich mud, rinse off with a swim to the centre, and emerge, regenerated, with skin like velvet. Bring some water with you, and be aware that there’s no shade. Early mornings and evenings are the most atmospheric times (and the locals recommend a nocturnal dip under the full moon). Read more on The Telegraph

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