Excursions in the most beautiful spots of Sicily


Portopalo di Capo Passero & l'Isola delle Correnti

Isola di Capo Passero

Capo Passero island is right in front of Portopalo, in the extreme south coast of Sicily. Located in the Ionian Sea, it measures about 35 hectares and it’s separated from the land by a small area of water that is not so deep and about 300mt long.

It is also connected to the land by a sand stripe that stays underwater but it’s walkable when there’s low tide; the island can be reached also by canoe, pedalo or a small boat. From here starts a small path with a vegetation of palmettos that will lead you to the fort of Capo Passero, an architectural military construction from the 600 that predominates in the entire island.  

Built by the will of the viceroy of Sicily Marcantonio Colonna in the 1583, it was ended in the 1652 during the reign of Filippo III King of Spain. Near the fort you can admire the statue of Maria Santissima Scala del Paradiso, realized by Mario Ferretti and inaugurated in 1959, that dominates the entire island with its gaze, a gaze that protects the sailors and the citizens.

To visit the rocky area and the caves, like for example the “Grotta del Polpo”, that offer beautiful sights and light shows due to the reflected water, we suggest you the boat excursion, the better way to enjoy the wonders of this natural pearl. The vegetation of the island is influenced by its environmental condition, so here we can find various plants that are able to adapt themselves to the aridity.

In the central part of the island we find the palmetto, typical of the rocky areas. In the sandy dunes that are in the southern part of Capo Passero there is an halophilic vegetation, represented by the Agropyron junceum, the sea lily, the salsola, the spurge and the sea rocket.

The rocky area, the north-east part, is populated by rupicolous species like the limonium sinuatum, the samphire and the glasswort.

Castello Tafuri

The story of the Tafuri castle begins in 1933, when the marquess Bruno di Belmonte, fascinated by the territory that was then part of Pachino, wanted to build a majestic building that lived up to the natural wonders of the place. The construction, projected by Crotti di Firenze in Liberty style, was built using the rock of Isola delle Correnti and was ended in 1935.

The castle, that raises right next to the Tonnara of Portopalo, was never inhabited by the Belmonte family because this residence was intended to be a summer house.

In the ‘60s the Belmonte family gave the property to Gaetano Tafuri of Pachino. It became a pub for dance nights until the ‘90s when it was transformed in a beautiful hotel by an entrepreneur from Syracuse and then abandoned for about a period of twenty years. Now it is entirely restructured and turned again into an accommodating structure.

Isola delle Correnti

The name of the island is already very suggestive. This island is connected to Sicily through a rocky boardwalk that, according to the tides, is partly underwater. The island is part of the territory of Portopalo, province of Syracuse. Portopalo di Capo Passero is known as the southern town of Italy, and it’s easily reachable through the Syracuse-Noto street. It is in fact less than one hour away from Syracuse.

Isola delle Correnti fascinates thanks to its wild and uncontaminated beauty. In the island there is an old military structure, a suggestive lighthouse and a wonderful reef. The island is not so rich of vegetation and it’s mainly constituted by the Mediterranean forest, and the few buildings in there were the residence of the custodian of the lighthouse, now abandoned.

The fascinating thing of the island is that it constitutes the meeting point between the Ionian Sea and the Canal of Sicily. The currents (from where the name of the island derives) that generates from the two seas give birth to frothy waves that shatter against the coast. This place is in fact a destination to all the people who love surf and windsurf.

The island can be reached by feet through the boardwalk that connects it to Sicily. Water can arrive till the waist and sometimes the path is unwalkable due to the currents and the waves. Anyway, once in the island, the struggle is totally rewarded.

If you visit Isola delle Correnti during your summer holidays, this will be the perfect occasion to go swim in the uncontaminated blue water of this coast. Here you can also admire the underwater flora and fauna. In this area you can choose between three different beaches, according to the wind. Here the sea is in fact impetuous and unstable, so if it’s windy in the island you can go to Punta delle Formiche, that is right before Isola delle Correnti. This area is a bit protected and the sea is calmer.

Here also are, during the period of migration, all the birds that go from the North-African coasts to Sicily. This sight is really breathtaking.


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