Vendicari Natural Reserve
Founded. in 1984, the Vendicari Nature Reserve is managed by the State Forestry Commission, protecting of one of the few tracts of land on the coast of Eastern Sicily not .yet built up or dissected by roads. There are eight kilometers of beaches, cliffs, small hidden bays and, above all, a series of ponds situated behind the sand dunes, which make it one of the most beautiful and best conserved wetland areas in Sicily.
These ponds, locally called marshes, border almost the whole length of the coast. From north to south you come across the mouth of the Tellaro river, the Calamosche pond and the Piccolo, Grande, Roveto and Scirbia marshes.
It is a separate world, different from the agricultural areas that grow almonds and olives, or the thick and fragrant tracts of scrub that are typical in this corner of Sicily.
Typical plants associated with humid, brackish areas grow around the ponds: there are relatively few reeds, the plants which are more. distinctly common are saltwort, in beautiful, salty stretches of changing colours, rushes and "limonio,” a type of reed with delicate blue flowers.
With the exception of the Piccolo marsh, the other marshes are seasonal and their level depends on the amount of rainwater: often in the summer months they are completely dry and the bottom m is covered by a thin layer of salt. The fauna in Vendicari is extremely rich. More than two hundred and fifty species of birds have been observed and the marshes are often host to concentrations of thousands of water birds. In the winter months there are great flocks of Ducks, Cormorants, Flamingos, Coots and various species of small wading birds. In late spring., Black Winged Stilts lay their eggs among the saltwort.
Vendicari also offers the visitor interesting historical testimonies: the ruins of the eighteenth’ century Tuna processing factory, the Swabian tower, the small Byzantine church in Trigona and the ruins of the Greek city of Eloro that mark the northern boundary of the park.
This protected area is enjoyable all year round. There are signposted trails, observation huts for bird watching and a nature guide service for organized tours.
The entrance to the park is well signposted along the Noto-Pachino provincial road.