Anne's Blog

Discover Italy’s Islands of Refuge

Date: August 31, 2020 - categories: , , , , , - Leave your thoughts

In my late August 29th 2020 ZOOM talk,  “Italy’s Islands of Refuge, ” I took you along with me to the “islands of refuge” that Pino and I have come to love.

Over 200 kilometers south of Sicily – and only about 116 km from Tunisia – the island of Lampedusa is southern-most point of Europe with pristine waters reminiscent of the Caribbean – and a world away.

In an all-day boat ride around the perimeter of this island with a delightful group of other Italian vacationers, we swam in this aquamarine water in breath-taking coves:

This talk could only start with an account of our week-long stay on the splendid  island of Lampedusa for here we met with some of the refugees fleeing war, famine and poverty in their own countries who had arrived safely after a crossing from Libya (African departure point after long treks across the Sahara from their own countries):

Pope Francis visited the island in July, 2013 meeting with over fifty immigrants there.  He had chosen Lampedusa as his first Papal mission, thus underscoring his desire to put the poor and the neglected at the heart of his Papacy.

Another  gem of a small island  –  but quite close to Sicily  – has often been a place of “refuge” for us, too, for a few days when we are visiting  Pino’s family in Palermo: the island of Ustica, home to just over a thousand people.Once an active volcano, this island of black lavic rock explodes in colors – as you’ll see in my talk.

Not just the varied colors of the glimmering sea….

….but also the island’s  colorful murals embellishing homes and shops:


And what memorable  usticesi  have enhanced our visits here –  like Signor Pasquale weaving his baskets, blue eyes twinkling, as he recounts the stories of his childhood on this island:

…and Signora Gabriella and Signor Guido who also  have always enriched our Ustica stays with their simple wisdom and stories:

You’ll meet them in my talk.

When we can’t get to Sicily, a favorite island “of refuge” (as in flight from life’s daily routines) is the Latium island gem of Ventotene:

Highlights of our stays there include:

*daily swims in the splendid waters surrounding the island

*the  boat trip around the island’s perimeter with swims in the pristine aquamarine water of the rocky grottoes:

* superb seafood lunches and dinners at our favorite trattoria:

*fascinating evening guided tours of the Roman archaeological sites on this tiny island:


*the guided tour of the island of Santo Stefano, once housing a prison, where the concept of a united Europe was born in 1941 (my talk will tell you more):

*…and countless other pleasures…


Do visit these wondrous islands as soon as you can.  In the meantime, enjoy hearing all about these “islands of refuge” right here.

You also might enjoy seeing this talk – and other “virtual experiences” –  on my YouTube channel.

Another way to “visit” these wondrous islands?  Just put “Lampedusa,” “Ustica,” and/or “Ventotene” into the SEARCH bar of my blog. The many tidbits on these island gems will have you planning your trip!

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