From the Swabian Tower to the Necropolis passing through the Calamosche and San Lorenzo beaches: what to do and see in the Vendicari Reserve, in Sicily.
The protected area of the Vendicari nature reserve stands out on the south-eastern tip of theSicily, a stone's throw from the picturesque fishing village ofMarzamemi, and represents one of the most loved areas of the island.
Officially established in 1984, the Vendicari Reserve extends into the province ofSyracusefor over 1500 hectares and is divided into areas dedicated to agriculture, tourism and sport.
The origins of this area are testified by various archaeological finds (including some stone quarries that were used in ancient timesGreek city of Eloro) and would seem to have its roots in the Hellenistic Age, around the fifth century BC. c.
WHAT TO SEE IN THE VENDICARI RESERVE
The Vendicari Nature Reserve is located in a marshy coastal strip and is a rich place from a biological, faunal, historical and naturalistic point of view. The center of the area is characterized byfive brackish marshes(Piccolo, Grande, Roveto, Sichilli and Scirbia), while there are four entrances:
- Eloro (north);
- Calamosche (near the splendid Calamosche beach);
- Swabian Tower (main entrance);
- Citadel of Maccari (where the ancient Byzantine settlement stands).
Once inside the Vendicari Nature Reserve you can enjoy the beauty of a place that seems totally detached from reality. Thereflorait is characterized by plants such as junipers, tamarisks and glassworts, an ecosystem suitable for survival in highly saline areas. The fauna is instead characterized by numerous species of birds including storks,flamingos(they returned to nest in these areas in 2018), seagulls and herons (December is the most suitable month forbird watching). If you are lucky you will also be able to see foxes, hedgehogs, porcupines and wild rabbits, as well as the Sicilian marsh turtles.
Among the things to see in the Vendicari Reserve, beyond the purely landscape aspect, the following stand out:
- Latomies: stone quarries dating back to the 5th century BC. C. and which testify to the origins of the area;
- Swabian Tower: built (almost certainly) at the behest of Pietro D'Aragona as a storage place for foodstuffs destined for trade. The Swabian Tower was the set of one of the episodes of the successful Montalbano series;
- The Tonnara: also known as Batufu (Capo Bojuto), it was used to fish tuna and mackerel after the mating season, when they returned to the open sea. In front of the tonnara stands a small island which, in the past, was the place where the Rais lived with his family and the owners;
- Citadel of Maccari: represents the southern entrance to the Reserve and its name derives from a Byzantine settlement of the 6th century BC The village was used at the time of the Greeks and Phoenicians as a trading area and, still today, it is possible to observe ruins and stone houses .
- Byzantine Trigona and Necropolis: these two attractions are located a very short distance from the Citadel of Maccari and are absolutely at the top of the list of things in the Vendicari reserve. The Byzantine Trigona is a square-plan building with three apses which, inside, hides an old stone dome. The Necropolis, on the other hand, represents the testimony of Byzantine catacombs. Of particular relevance is the underground one, a very rare example of a tomb located in a small mausoleum;
- Salt pans of Vendicari: today used as a refreshment oasis by birds, the salt marshes are one of the main attractions of the Reserve.
THE BEACHES OF THE VENDICARI RESERVE
The Ionian coast of Sicily, fromMessinain Portopalo di Capo Passero, it is dotted with beautiful white beaches and crystal clear seas. Along the 7 kilometers of the Vendicari Reserve, picturesque coves and corners of water stand out so suggestive that they have been awarded with4 blue sails from Legambiente.
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There are five beaches in the Vendicari Reserve and each of them has a different soul:
- Calamosche beach:the most famous beach of Vendicari. It can be reached along the Blue Itinerary;
- Eloro beach: not far from the Eloro entrance;
- Marianelli beach: isolated and uncontaminated, it is famous for its very white sand;
- Vendicari beach: alongside the Tonnara;
- San Lorenzo beach: characterized by large beaches and small coves.
WHAT TO SEE AROUND VENDICARI
In the surroundings of the Vendicari Reserve there are numerous attractions. Among the main ones, the small and colorful one stands outMarzamemi, fishing village of Syracuse,Knownand its baroque, theRoman Villa of Tellaro, residence of the late Roman imperial age and theCavagrande Nature Reservewith lakes.
If you are organizing an on the road among the most beautiful areas of Syracuse, in addition toOrtygiaand the Greek Theater, I recommend a visit to Portopalo di Capo Passero (one of the three peaks of Sicily) ePalazzolo Acreide.
HOW TO GET TO THE VENDICARI RESERVE
The Vendicari Nature Reserve is located in the province of Syracuse, about 40 kilometers south of the city centre. The best way to reach this landscaped area is by car: