Renting a damusso on Pantelleria

How to rent a damusso—traditional house—on the Sicilian island of Pantelleria

The kitchen in my rented damusso house
The kitchen in my rented damusso.
Though there are hotels on Pantelleria, to get the true island experience you must rent a traditional damusso.

This is an ancient form of Arab architecture: rectangular walls of lava blocks stacked up to six feet thick against the heat, the roof undulating over a series of whitewashed domes that sit above each room collecting rainwater. Inside, the domes create soaring ceilings of intersecting arches and cupolas.

Damussi stay cool all summer long, and renting one gives you a kitchen and a neighborhood of your own. Last time I stayed, my damusso was in the mountain village of Sibà, where the neighbors were ridiculously friendly, strings of tomatoes hung against sunny walls to dry, and dogs napped in the middle of the sole road, not even stirring when I steered my scooter around them.

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Damussi rentals on Pantelleria

Most damussi rent by the week

Most damussi rent by the week—especially mid-June through early September—though in the off-season you can get one for three or four nights. An apartment in a larger, subdivided damusso may be available for just a few nights even in summer (though not in August, for which it's best to book any sort of lodging by March).


The prices vary with season and size (larger damussi can sleep up to six), but for a ballpark: a damusso for two can range anywhere from $390 per week in the off-season to $845 from late July through August.

Rental agencies

There are several rental agencies on the island, but Call Tour's Mariangela Cannarella seems unusually devoted to representing genuine, traditional properties (about 60 of them) rather than neo-damussi built by +39-011-39-0923-911-065,, from €56 per night for two. You can also book damussi—and traditional hotels—at

Hotels on Pantelleria
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