|Chris Caravella's Virtual
Tour of Ustica
|Falconiera is one of the most prominent vistas in Ustica.
It is exactly for this reason that this site has been inhabited since Roman
times and probably earlier. The high elevation gave a great overview
of most of the island which allowed an early warning if hostile forces
were planning an attack. Today the site has been developed for tourism.
There are well marked paths and informational signs in Italian. The
peak is the site of a Roman habitation. These are not the ruins of
elaborate temples but rather those of simple dwellings of an average Roman
village. Most of the details have been lost to time and are not readily
evident without a descriptive guide. Further down the mountainside
towards the town are two Bourbon fortresses built in the 1760's to protect
the group of colonists sent by the king in order to form a permanent inhabitation
on the island. These colonists were the forefathers of the current
population. A little further down from the fortresses lies the necropolis,
an ancient area used for burial. Most evident are about 150 tombs
carved directly into the surface of mountain. There are also some
large crypts which contain the same carved tombs and some wall vaults with
evidence of use by early Christians..
These stairways carved into the mountain connected the tiers of homes
on either side of the mountain. It's very steep and windswept here
and tourists are not allowed on the path.
|You'll have to use your imagination here. Picture three tiers
of homes, one on the grassy area, one on the ledge above and one on top.
Cisterns were dug between every other house and canals dug into the rock
veered water into them. The homes were open in the front and post
holes which supported the canopies can still be seen in the ground.
Homes of the elite had mosaic floors, of which very little remain.
Chunks of painted and corniced plaster from the interiors of the homes
can be found along the path.
Photo taken from the lower Bourbon fortress. Paths were lined
with post fences and the roofs of the fortresses were restored as the site
developed for tourism. The Roman habitation lies at the peak beyond
the upper Bourbon fortress.
|The last remaining cannon at the upper Bourbon fortress.
Imprinted in the hinge is the date 1780 and on the top a maritime
Large burial vaults dug into the walls of the mountain. Through
time these were used also as homes and animal pens.
|Vito walking amongst the tombs in the necropolis. Notice the
varying sizes. They were dug to fit the deceased.
[Santa Maria Tower]
[The City] [Spalmatore]
[The Grottos] [The
Old Town] [The
Back Dock] [Tramontana]
[Pass of the Madonna]
[Chapel of San
of Ustica] [Plan