Tremiti Islands Tears & Femminelle.

I’d been on a wonderful social tour for a week and suddenly it had come to an end and I was back to travelling solo.


I had a nice sleep in Termoli at my usual, The Oceano Rooms (great location, great host), and then I was on a ferry at the port and off to the Tremiti.

The yellow sign is asking people to not abandon rubbish on this beautiful jewel of an island.

There are 5 islands forming the group with only 2 inhabited. Their name ‘tremiti’ refers to tremors as they have a history of earthquakes.


It is thought people have resided here since several hundred years BC. The Roman Emperor Augustus had his grand daughter Julia exiled here in the year 8 where she was to die 20 years later. This was for adultery but there were some that believed it was for having had a role in a revolt at the time.

Monks, pirates and prisoners each had their time here with Neapolitan slum dwellers also having their turn in the sun.


In 1938 just for a year or 2, Mussolini utilised the island as an internment camp for gay men (femminella) without homosexuality being illegal and without acknowledging what he was doing publicly. He seemed to have a grand plan for Italian men to be virile and manly. They were mostly from Catania in Sicily. Once the war broke out the camp was disbanded and they returned to some degree of confinement back in their home areas.


The islands are beautiful. The ferry pulled into San Domino where the waters are clear and the trees give shade from the summer heat and the vistas are everywhere and to die for.

There are a few downsides…the single sandy beach is small compared to the number of tourists and access generally to the water is limited across the rest of the island. That is,  unless you take a small boat ride and ask them to drop you somewhere nice. I would really recommend that. I thought I would be able to find something myself and walked the length and breadth of the island and only found a couple of places where with rock hopper beach shoes I could’ve picked my way across to the edge and attempted to get in. It wasn’t easy and by the time I had accepted this, the best part of the day was over.


At the further-est and seemingly most remote end of the island there is a lighthouse and shelter. I stopped and ate my lunch and enjoyed the breeze and felt so alone in the world. I had a wee cry. Amazingly cell phone reception was good and I noticed my husband pop up on Facebook so right at that sad moment I messaged him and he was right there for me, all the way from the other side of the planet. And he said all the most wonderful things…he said ‘take in all the beauty around you so that you can draw on it when you need’. He said ‘you are never really alone’, and he said ‘enjoy this time and space, even the sad feelings, it is all part of your wonderful experience’, or something like that.


So I dried my tears, walked back to the sandy beach and had a refreshing swim and then got an aperol spritz and drank it on a hammock gazing across to San Nicola and it’s monastery.


At the end of a gorgeous day out I returned to the Italian mainland ready to (happily) travel solo through Puglia in the days ahead. There were to be no more tears! 🙂

6 thoughts on “Tremiti Islands Tears & Femminelle.

  1. What a lovely post, Andrea. Well done, my friend. Great photos, the sea there looks intoxicating! Love that colour! Your account made me squeeze out a tear or two as well. Isn’t amazing how serendipitous connections to loved ones can be, when you are separated by thousands of miles? xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ann Marie. It is very pretty there. And my husband is an endless source of support, love and care. He is a soul mate on a deep level even in our absences. I think it was the author Ailsa Piper that refers to her husband as her true north, finding her way back to him after her forays out into the world. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s