It’s unusual to come across new places and islands in Europe that you’ve never heard of.
Particularly in this new world of Instagram holiday spam. I follow about 500 people, all of whom have been firmly bitten by the travel bug, so you’d think between them they’d have the world pretty well mapped out!
But I was doing a little digging one day and discovered a new island. Favignana.
Just off the coast of Sicily, with bright blue seas, cobbled streets and pasta for days!
I was sold and booked a pretty spectacular little villa I spied on my web wanderings.
Naturally, a little island you’ve never heard of isn’t going to be easy to get to! We flew into Sicily and spent a night in Trapani.
A crumbling, beautiful, little port town.
We spent a day gorging ourselves on pasta and canoli, hit the hay and got up at dawn the next day to catch the ferry.
We drove on, parked up and bagged a seat each on the top deck.
A smooth 45minutes later, we pulled into another port.
The glittering turquoise bay of Favignana.
After a brief espresso, we set off on a bit of a tour of our new home.
Meandering our way along the coastline, drinking in the views and the cooling sea breeze.
Italy meets The Bahamas!
We came across a huge open bay…
…and realised we’d stumbled onto Cala Rossa.
Known as “The Red Bay” thanks to a particularly bloody naval battle in 241 BC between Romans & Phoenicians, and due to the red clay in the surrounding land.
Now it’s nothing more than a magnet for adventurous swimmers and view chasers.
It’s not hard to see why!
Just above Cala Rossa is where we made our home.
A rustic stone villa, cut into the rocks.
With bedrooms sprinkled through some of the most unusual gardens I’ve ever come across.
^ Loo with a view!
A maze of caves, caverns and pathways.
Stuffed with fruit trees, a new surprise around every corner.
The best surprise of all?
The pool cut into the rock.
This became one of our favourite spots!
The main part of the house blends in quite beautifully with the sandy landscape.
Rustic walls, ceramic tiles, peeling paint pretending to be older than it is.
Though we were cursing the old bed by the second morning!
It might have been more comfortable to sleep on the (irresistible) tiles.
Clever carvings, reclaimed hardware and a sunken bath give an other-worldly, arcadian sense to the place.
If exploring’s your thing, you’ll want to make it to the end of the garden.
Keep going through the little grove of limes…
…Past the second guest house…
…and you’ll see an opening in the rocks.
If you duck inside you’ll be greeted by the entrance to a matrix of caves.
The groundskeeper says they never end.
People have gone on through cavern after cavern and still haven’t found where they stop.
Which is amazing and only mildly knee-tremblingly creepy!
If caves aren’t your thing, follow me.
Just across the dirt track infront of the house, you’ll find another garden.
Equipped with a couple of sun-beds, a dining table and one hell of a view!
We ate breakfast here almost every morning, and lunch & dinner whenever we could.
Lazy afternoons spent wallowing in the pool, noses buried in books.
This time I read Nevernight – You need to get used to his writing style which feels intensely annoying at the start, but grows on you and soon the story takes over.
The Secret Life of Bees – Which I stopped because I found it desperately depressing. Do let me know if it gets a bit happier… but I can’t see a happy ending on the way!
Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore – Very funny to begin with, bit odd, but quite good!
Then I made a start on Malcolm Gladwell’s podcasts. Wow. Just unbelievable. Give them a listen on your way to work, incredible.
In the evenings we invariably sat out to enjoy the sunset in the second garden.
Alternating evenings between cups of tea and homemade bellinis.
More on the island itself tomorrow, and lots more adventures on their way.
In the meantime, if you want to look at the villa for yourself I found it here.
Other than that, there’s a handful of hotels (this looks nice) and lots of villas/flats dusted across the rocky little island.
Happy house hunting!