Filicudi is one of the scenic group of Aeolian islands off the north-eastern coast of Sicily, well known in particular for the scuba diving that is popular along the coast here. A large part of the island is now designated as the 'Natural Reserve of Filicudi Island'.
The volcanic island is made up of several layers of lava, the oldest of which is located in the sea in front of 'Fili di Sciacca' while the largest and oldest layer is the so-called 'Fossa delle felci' and the most recent is that of 'Montagnola'.
The slopes of the island of Filicudi are mostly steep and rocky, with houses grouped around the "Porto Pecorini" and especially "Valdichiesa," where you can see the Church of Saint Stephen, the patron saint of the island.
The 'ribs' of Filicude are covered with woods and broom that extend down to the sea, alternating with narrow valleys and steep cliffs, such as as the “Giafante” rock and “Punta Zotta”, and the caves carved by the sea.
To the north of the island is the spectacular “Punta Zucco Grande” (with ten layers of lava).
The eastern side of the island is a less harsh environment - among the most beautiful landscapes here are the “Punta Perciato” and the giant boulders of the “Rupi delle Sciare” ["Cliffs of the ‘Sciara’”] - steep vertical cliffs overlooking the sea.
Caves and underwater diving on Filicudi
For those who love underwater diving (and are experienced enough), it is customary to explore the various caves on the island.
The so-called "Grotta del Bue Marino" ('Grotto of the Monk Seal') is not far from the “Rock of Canna” (Scaglia della Canna) and it is especially popular among lovers of underwater photography. You will need a boat, which can be hired in the main port, to get here.
The “Grotta dei Gamberi” ["Cave of crawfishes"] is populated by a considerable amount of small crawfishes, sponges, octopus, moray eels, scorpion fish reds and blacks, and groupers.
The so-called “Secca dei Sei Metri” ["Sandbank of Six Feet”] is located on the northern side of the island, off the coast between the “Sciara” and “Gianfante” rock. Visitors here find moray eels, bream, damselfish and red scorpions.
Bronze Age villages of Filicudi
From Pecorini a Mare, a small fishers village on Filicudi, you can follow a path to reach the peninsula of Capo Graziano. The promontory of Capo Graziano is the ancient site of prehistoric settlements dating back to the Bronze Age. Originally a vast village, although only a few oval huts have so far been excavated, it is located along the south coast of the isthmus that joins the "Montagnola" to "Capo Graziano."
A larger prehistoric town, more recent than Pecorini a Mare, is situated on the hill of Montagnola (of Capo Graziano) and excavations carried out in recent years have highlighted thirty oval huts. The village allegedly extended to the highlands above the top of the Montagnola - it is probable that the original village was moved to the highest position for defensive reasons, contrasting with the lack of security in the original village in the valley.
In the huts of the "Montagnola" numerous fragments of pottery have been found, together with indigenous production of ceramics, that prove that commercial relations existed here between the 16th and 13th centuries BC. The huts show clear evidence of the overlap of the two cultures dating back to the first and middle Bronze Age. The village probably ceased to exist after a violent destruction in the 13th century BC. See also Filicudi history and etymology.
More Filicudi highlights
For those who do not practice diving, a boat tour from the port is an excellent way to explore Filicudi.
Across the creeks of Punta Zotta you come in sight of some small farmers' houses, now abandoned, then beyond the rocks of "Montenassari" and the stack of "Canna", we arrive at "Punta del Berciato," next to the cave of the "Bue Marino” and famous for the play of light caused by the effects of sunlight on the walls and water.
After enjoying the excursions, boating and sun that Filicudi has to offer, it is recommended that you take a refreshment stop, with some good local dishes to choose from - preferably a fish course, which, needless to say, is always fresh. Among the dishes, we recommend the classic spaghetti with cuttlefish ink, spaghetti with olives and capers, caper pâté, and squid with sauce.
You can find more local travel ideas in the Sicily guide.