With its cave saunas and famed vineyards, this tiny Mediterranean island offers a celebration of the simple pleasures.
Renowned for its capers and sweet wines, the tiny island of Pantelleria is just a 45-minute flight from Palermo. This is the Mediterranean as it used to be, where prehistoric burial sesi rise above vineyards, volcanic steam creates cave saunas, and locals celebrate the simple pleasures of sea, sun, and village life. (The island is believed to be the mythical Ogygia, where Odysseus dallied with the nymph Calypso.)
Though there are hotels on Pantelleria, to get the true experience, rent a dammuso: an ancient architectural form with walls of lava blocks and whitewashed dome roofs. Here's how:
Most of the Italian island's dammusi rent by the week, but it is possible to book one for just three or four nights from late September to late May. The company Call Tour rents 60 authentic dammusi of various shapes and sizes, including the following three properties (011-39/0923-911-065, calltour.it).
Geranio: Two bedrooms, one bath, with a view of the Tunisian coast; from $400 per week.
Monastir: Three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and vineyard views; from $840 per week.
Rekale: Four bedroom dammuso that sleeps eight and overlooks the ocean; from $3,000 per week.