Pantelleria  ( ital. Pantelleria , sits . Pantiddirìa ), in antiquity of Kossira ( lat. Cossyra, Costura ) - an Italian island in the Sicilian Channel in the Mediterranean Sea , 100 km southwest of Sicily and 70 km east of the African coast ( Tunisia ). Pantelleria is entirely part of the , belonging to the Sicilian province of Trapani .
|Highest point||836 m|
|Population||7729 people (2009)|
|Population density||93.12 people / km²|
|Water area||Mediterranean Sea|
The patrons of the island venerate the Blessed Virgin Mary , as well as the saints Fortunat of Kaseisky and Kristina , the celebration of October 16.
The island has a volcanic origin, an area of 83 km². The highest point is Montagna Grande , 836 m above sea level. Hot mineral springs and fumaroles indicate volcanic activity, as well as two calderas. Another caldera formed the small lake Mirror of Venus ( Italian Specchio di Venere ), up to 12 m deep, fed by rains and underground sources. The island has fertile soil, but lacks fresh water, which comes only in the form of rain.
The main city (with a population of about 3 thousand people) is located in the north-west, above the only harbor (and then only accessible to small vessels). It also has fortifications, including previously used as a prison.
Ferries and the SEC from Trapani go to the island, and it is also located near the main sea lanes from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Western. The island has a Margan airport (formerly a military airfield).
Archaeological excavations have shown the presence of traces of human presence, including dwellings, in layers of 35 thousand years ago.
The initial population of Pantelleria did not move there from Sicily, but belonged to the Iberian or Ligurian tribes. In 2-1 thousand BC e. on the island there was a culture of Sesiot , whose buildings resembled Nuragi in Sardinia. After a significant break during which the island was supposedly uninhabited, it was taken under control by the Carthaginians, as an important point on the outskirts of Sicily, probably at the beginning of the 7th century BC. e. Their acropolis occupied both hills - San Marco and Santa Teresa, 2 km south of the current city of Pantelleria. From the city there were stone walls made of rectangular blocks, and a certain number of tanks and reservoirs. Carthaginian burials were also discovered, and terracotta figurines from a small sanctuary near the north coast. The name Pantelleria (“daughter of the wind”) alludes to strong winds blowing from the African coast.
The Romans occupied the island in 255 BC. e. , lost it the next year, and again occupied in 217 BC. e. In the days of the Empire, it was used as a place of exile for important officials and members of the imperial family. The city received municipal rights.
In 700, the Christian population was exterminated by the Arabs, who, in turn, in 1123 were expelled by Roger of Sicily . In 1311, the Aragonese fleet under the command of Luis de Recensens won a significant victory near the island. His descendants called themselves the princes of Pantelleria until 1553 , when the Ottomans took possession of the city. During the Napoleonic Wars, the Admiralty considered the possibility of acquiring Pantelleria  (as well as Lampedusa and Linosa ) in order to strengthen the situation in the recently acquired Malta , but in 1812 it was decided that the enterprise would entail too many difficulties.
World War II
Before the war, Italy began the construction of an airfield, as a counterweight to the Anglo-French presence in the region. In 1936-1939, the Margana airfield was built  , with two runways and two-story underground (340x26x18m) hangars for 80 aircraft (designed by architect Per Luigi Nervi), but did not notice anything significant in the war - Italy did not have enough To place aircraft at all its air bases, in November 1940, the link of the 80th fighter squadron was based at the airfield, from November 1942 to May 1943 the 1st strike storm (air regiment). Also during World War II , an Italian torpedo boat base was located on the island, which attacked British convoys marching along the Sicilian Channel. They also participated, together with the German armed forces, in the defeat of the English convoy marching to Malta ( Operation Pedestal ).
The capture of the island was planned back in 1940 (Operation Workshop / Workshop), but was delayed after the Germans appeared in Sicily  . Attention was again drawn to the island in 1943. It was one of the key moments in the success of the Allied landing operations in Sicily in 1943, since it allowed for more aircraft capable of operating over most of Sicily  . The Italians intended to defend the island as “their Malta,” for which a 12,000-strong garrison was placed on the island, with supplies for 50 days. From May 8 to June 10 Pantelleria was subjected to brutal bombardment from the air and from the sea (more than 5 thousand sorties), so that by the end of the month the commander of the garrison left the island with his headquarters. All planes were defeated, and when a British naval landing was landed on June 11, the Italian garrison immediately surrendered  . The operation to capture the island was called Operation Corkscrew ( Corkscrew ). The USAF planned to make a Panteleria attack a breakdown and force the surrender of the island by intensive bombing. British air and naval forces acted as observers.
On the west coast, 3 km southeast of the harbor, there is a Neolithic settlement with a rampart of small obsidian blocks, 7.5 m high, 10 m wide at the base and 5 m at the top and unprotected east side. Huts were found here, with pottery, obsidian items, and other artifacts. Artifacts exhibited at the Syracuse History Museum.
In the southeast, in the area known as Kunelie, there are a large number of burials, called “ Sesi ”, similar to Nuragi in Sardinia, but smaller in size and consisting of round or elliptical towers, composed of roughly hewn lava pieces, with burial chambers. Fifty-seven of them are still visible. The largest elliptical tower is 18–20 m in diameter, but most of the “sesi” are 6–7.5 m in diameter. The identical nature of the ceramics found in the sesi, with those found in the settler’s houses, says that it was buried after use .
- Map sheet J-32-XXX . Scale: 1: 200 000. Indicate the date of issue / condition of the area .
- Lampedusa's strong and long-standing relationships with Malta , Times of Malta (November 10, 2013). Archived on September 21, 2017.
- Margana Airfield, Pantelleria. (inaccessible link) . Date of treatment December 11, 2013. Archived December 14, 2013.
- Winston Churchill . Desert Victory // Their Finest Hour. - Houghton Mifflin Company , 1949. - P. 552. - ISBN 0-395-41056-8 .
- Bragadin. The Italian fleet in World War II.
- Operation Corkscrew