I enjoyed a ciambella and a creamy lemon drink as refreshing as a granita but thicker. After learning that we were from the United States, the man at the cafe told my mother how there was a large group of Americans from New Orleans staying on the island. Apparently, a significant-sized group of "Usticesi" immigrated to New Orleans in the last few centuries when the island population was getting out of control, and an important connection between the two places remains.
View of the center of town in the morningI was blown away by the charm of Ustica. It was extremely clean and you could tell that Usticesi were proud of their island. So many of the storefronts and exterior walls of buildings had beautiful tile murals. Ustica is a mecca for divers, snorkelers, and underwater photographers and this fish design was a common theme on the island. One of my favorite shops was a pottery store featuring this theme where we bought a salt shaker.
A beautiful tiled design of the island
Even the pharmacy was decorated
I couldn't help myself when I saw the Ustican version of a garbage truck. Many of the streets are so narrow that normal-sized vehicles cannot pass by.
We took a lovely boat tour with a local fisherman, Gianuzzo. In about two hours, he took us all around the island and showed us at least six gorgeous grottos. Every time we entered a grotto, Gianuzzo turned off the motor and took out the paddles. Sometimes we had to lie flat on our backs because the caves were so low! I loved the blue and green grottos in particular and they photographed surprisingly well.
Gianuzzo, our captain
Penne with Sicilian pistachios
Penne with shrimp, tomatoes, and eggplant
Enjoying a cup of fresh fruit before heading back to Palermo on the last hydrofoil of the day