From north to south, along the coast.
The “Saline” of Augusta are a must-visit if you’re up to an excursion. Closed in the ‘900 due to inactivity, they became a natural protected area that belongs to the European Union. Today the place is still a “meeting point” for a lot of migratory birds, presenting a delicate sea flora and fauna.
Proceeding you will find the “Saline” of Priolo. The most famous part of this area (today closed) is the natural reserve that was an important spot for the break, the nesting and the wintering for a great number of birds: they think that there are 240 protected species (wood sandpiper, dunlin, oystercatcher, grey heron, pink flamingo). Among the mammals we find the hedgehog, the shrew, the fox the weasel and the black rat. Speaking of vegetation, you can find the poppy, the sea lily, the cornflower, the “salicornia fruticosa”, the myrtle, the asparagus and the acacia. This reserve won the award as the best reserve in italy in 2008.
A few kilometers away there is the Ciane river, from the greek “cyanos” (green-light blue) that represents the color of the river. It is famous for its glowing vegetation: papyrus, reed and water iris. For which concerns the fauna, it concerns the moorhen, the butterbump and the stilt-bird.
In this area there is the area of Plemmirio, a very important place for which concerns history, famous due to the passage of the carthaginian, roman and greeks ships. The sea bottom hosts in fact different urns and evidences from the World War Second. It is a perfect place to do an excursion right in front of the sea and to swim, so you can look at the wonderful coral reef and its sea fauna (tuna, snappers and yellowtails).
Further south there is the Gelsomineto pine forest. A rich and equipped area near to the Cassibile river, with an amazing beach and a beautiful cliff made of calcareous rocks where you can relax.
Following this direction, toward the inland, you will find the natural reserve Cavagrande del Cassibile, the perfect spot for trekking. The presence of caves in the rock makes it majestic and suggestive because there are 8000 rocky tombs. On both sides of the Cassibile river you will admire a very rich fauna (poplar, palmetto, wild olive).
Vendicari, located in the south, is a natural reserve also called wildlife oasis, an uncontaminated and men-free nature. A breathtaking view will welcome you, long and golden beaches that turn into cliffs on the sea. This reserve is famous for the “birdwatching” due to the presence of migratory flows. You can in fact admire flamingos, herons and storks. There is a rich vegetation of palmetto, myrtle, wild olive, samphire and so on. The presence of the old Tonnara, now abandoned, makes this place very valued and suggestive.
One of the most important sites speaking of nature is the Morghella morass, once hydro-lagoon and then salt pan. It is located on the street that goes from Portopalo di Capo Passero and Marzamemi. It was a great salt pan until a few decades ago. On the shore of this morass you can still see the old houses that belonged to the “salinari”, people who worked at the salt pan. Since when the salt pan stopped a lot of anatidae came to the morass. Near the morass there is the cemetery of Pachino, dominated by a small hill called Cozzo S. Lucia, volcanic and made of lava rocks.
Going towards Isola delle Correnti there is the Ciaramiraro morass. It is populated by a lot of aquatic birds (herons, flamingos, cormorants, ducks and so on) and sometimes there are saltwater fishes too (mullets, eels). The Ciaramiraro morass is also surrounded by numerous rushes.
Not so far away there’s the Cuba morass so called due to the presence of a byzantine church (“Cube”), and the Longarini morass, very near. These places are full of life both because of the presence of an abundant hydro-fauna and the flora that presents different trees like sycamores and willows. In these morass it is forbidden to go swim, to hunt and to go fishing.
Proceeding along the coast there is the reserve of the Irminio river, constituted by a coastline that touches the Mediterranean Sea with its sandy coasts. The flora in this reserve includes these species: lentiscus, lily, poplar, bot, willow, juniper and so on. The fauna is composed of dwarf herons, hawks, kingfishers, black-winged stilt and coots. In this reserve it’s very beautiful to have a walk along the mouth of the river and if you’re like you can also see some turtle that lays down its eggs.
The natural reserve Cava Randello is an equipped pine forest in front of the sea. Characterized by various kind of pines and spiny oaks, cypresses and myrtles, it is one of the most beautiful reserves in Sicily. Some people think that in this area there are the ruins of some old necropolis that were part of the archeological complex of Kamarina.
The end of the itinerary is the natural reserve of Pino d’Aleppo. The reserve is the home of what can be considered the last settlement of Pinus Halepensis in Sicily. Other trees here are the oleaster, the carob tree, the palmetto, the ferula, the thyme, the rosemary, the heather and the spiny oak. Among the mammals there are the weasel, the fox, the hare, the hedgehog, the porcupine. It is also not so rare to see flying herons. This reserve is surely recommended for its natural cycle trail that expands for 3000 hectares of protected nature.