There are places in the world that are just very very special. The island of Levanzo off the coast of Sicily is one of them. The smallest of three islands which make up the Aegadian Islands, it’s so small you can explore it on foot in a day, but so lovely and rich in food and history. A rocky, dry island with scrubby trees, little bays, creeks, some sheer cliffs and oh so blue crystal clear seas, it’s about a half hour boat ride from Sicily.
The port town is made up of houses painted white to deflect the hot sun, and you’ll find great little cafes with wonderful views of the water. Go for a walk around the island, go for a swim, and head to the Ristorante Paradiso for lunch. It’s one of those magical places where there’s no menu because it all depends what’s been caught that morning. The fish is that fresh and simply cooked – delicious. So far a great day out and you haven’t even experienced the piece de resistance yet: the Grotta del Genovese. This is the reason most people make the trip to Levanzo: rock paintings dating back eleven or twelve thousand years, the final phase of the Palaeolithic era. Depictions of deers, cows, horses, fish, humans – about 33 engravings and 100 paintings, comparable to those at Altamira in Spain or Lascaux in France – are concealed inside an inner cave and were not really well-known until the mid-twentieth century. They have been dated to 9680BC.