Il Faro di Capo Grecale

35°31'03.8'' N 12°37'55.5'' E

Il Faro di Capo Grecale

35°31'03.8'' N 12°37'55.5'' E

I can't think of any other man-made building

that is as selfless as a lighthouse. They were built only to serve.

George Bernard Shaw

The wind, in Lampedusa, is an element of the landscape. You breathe it at every step, you are overwhelmed at times, you are intoxicated in others. Cape Grecale, with its lighthouse, is one of the most spectacular points of the island. In front of you the immensity of a sea that seems endless, behind you, like a reliable friend, the lighthouse and the countryside of Lampedusa, which bears the signs of being beaten by the wind since time immemorial.

Lampedusa, from Lepas, the rock eroded by the fury of the elements, which resists in the vastness of the open sea. Or Lampedusa from Lampas, the torch that shines in the dark, that defeats the darkness.

We are at the north-eastern end of the island, the tower of the lighthouse is 19 meters high, with a rotating optic light that can cover 82 meters of light field above sea level. Its powerful white light can be seen up to 22 nautical miles away. It has a polygonal shape and the lighting system is a rotating optic with 4 light beams.

The dates of its construction are uncertain, but it dates back to the nineteenth century, and since then has remained unchanged, except for ordinary maintenance. Today it is powered by electricity, while like all the lighthouses of its generation was born powered by gas.

Today, the instrumentation on board of vessels is much improved, even for fishing boats, but for decades, at night, that light in Lampedusa and elsewhere has represented the salvation and hope of fishermen and sailors. It signalled land, but also the coast, to avoid accidents and to indicate a course. For centuries, lights or fires were used for these signals, such as the mythological Lighthouse of Alexandria in Egypt, located on the small island of Pharos (hence the name) in front of the Egyptian town, until the introduction of lighthouses: the first lighthouse in history was the one in Boston, New England, in the United States, in 1716. The oldest lighthouse still operating is the one at Sandy Hook, New Jersey, from 1764, still in the US.

In February 2021, as part of a series of initiatives related to the creation of a Path of Peace in Lampedusa, Mayor Martello and the municipal council have decided to name the road leading to the lighthouse after judges Paolo Borsellino and Giovanni Falcone, murdered by the Mafia in 1992. On October 3, 2021, on the occasion of the celebration of the anniversary of the terrible shipwreck of 2013, a plaque with the names of the two judges engraved was placed, establishing the birth in the toponymy of the island of the Avenue Falcone and Borsellino. The link between the history of the two judges and a path of peace in the island, as explained by mayor Martello, is linked to the courage. Of those who have always lived the sea, and know the risks, and against those mafias of yesterday and today that speculate on fear and the lives of people.

Podcast: History of Lampedusa - 9^ episode

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