For many years it has been recognized the great naturalistic interest of this island, safeguarded by two reserves: the Marine Protected Area, established in 1986, and the Earth Reserve, established in 1997, which regulate activities focused around the island, above and below the sea. Ustica is more focused on an environmentally friendly tourism aimed at raising awareness, respecting and preserving the beauty of this "small rock". Although the diving and the sea are the most attractive activities, the tiny island of Ustica offers a range of alternatives. You can make beautiful bicycle tours along the road that runs along the island. There are many walking tours near the coast (the way of midday) or in the inner part of the island (walks into the grove) that you can do to explore the island nature.
The vegetation was dominated by Olea europea var sylvestris and Pistacia lentiscus. Today it remains only the witness of the toponym "Oliastrello". After the complete and rapid destruction of the brush for commercial purposes, almost the entire island was cultivated: the intense exploitation of the territory resulted in the drastic transformation of the island vegetation. Today there are few survivors of brushes, while the island is characterized by perennial meadows-pastures dominated by the grass family of the Mediterranean Hyparrhenia hirta.
The hills of the island are covered with pine forests of implanted Aleppo Pineartificial Pinus halepensis . You can see the typical Mediterranean vegetation: prickly pears, Artemisia arborea, Alliumampeloprasum, Quercus ilex, prickly Calicofone, prickly Capparis and many others; Limonium bocconei is endemic and, together with Crithmo-Limonietea and the interesting aspects of the brush of Mastic, Sparzio, Alaterno and Euphorbia, has contributed to the establishment of the reserve. For the lazier people we recommend to rent a scooter or sail around the island to discover the most hidden coves!
Let yourself get carried away by the smell and the silence interrupted only by the whisper of the sea; take a dip in one of the coves with irresistible and transparent waters ; enjoy an exciting sunset from one of the most evocative and highest points on the island. For birdwatchers it is possible to admire various species both sedentary (goldfinch, sparrow, greenfinch, sitting cisticola, sardinian warbler, peregrine falcon, kestrel, petrel) and migratory birds (egret, grey heron, white and black stork, kite, crane, sandpiper, etc) which achieve their usual migration into hot places and that seems to give appointment in this oasis of Ustica.
And in the evening? You have to taste the delicious local cuisine with simple dishes to enjoy the typical product of the island, the lentil. You can eat it as a single course or together with the shrimp of these waters, the Parapandalo, as well as fresh fish prepared in a variety of simple ways. Don't miss the extraordinary fireworks of August 24th. In this day the island celebrates the Patron Saint Bartolomeo, honored with a unique and distinctive procession through the streets of the town in the afternoon of the same day. On 19 September, instead, there is a celebration in honor of Saint Bartolicchio; the last Sunday of May is dedicated to our Lady of Fishermen: there is a procession through the streets of the country starting from the main church to the port. Here the statue is placed on a fishing boat which make go around the island. COSA VISITARE Archaeology fans should not miss the Archaeological Museum of “Torre Santa Maria” which preserves remains of the bronze age and the prehistoric village in “Tramontana”: very impressive is surely the Fortress of Falconiera that dominates the island and the small church of “Punta Madonna”.