A steep rocky mountain with great limestone cliffs plunging down into the sea define this, the most remote island of the Egadi group: That’s Marettimo island. For a dreamlike vacation the best choice is a sailing charter tour of the island. Numerous are the caves that nestle among the precipitous cliffs along the coast. The most striking include the Grotta del Cammello in which shelters a small pebble beach, Grotta del Tuono (Cave of Thunder), Grotta Perciata and, most notable of all, the Grotta del Presepio likened to a Nativity scene because of the rocks it contains fashioned and crafted by the wind and the waves.
At the foot of the mountain, nestles the hamlet of Marettimo, a compact collection of square white houses and terraces collected together around the miniature harbour. Behind the Scalo Nuovo (the main landing-stage) stands the Scalo Vecchio reserved far the local fishermen. To one side, extends Punta Troia, topped with ruins from a Spanish castle (17C) that served as a prison until 1844. A series of rugged paths (manageable even astride a donkey) lead inland uphill to higher ground where Mother Nature, remote and wild, can provide companionship in contemplating the glorious views out over the sea.