River Irmino Nature Reserve - Sicilyincoming

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Sicily Guide > Ragusa province



The Irminio River, the longest in the province of Ragusa, born from the slopes of Monte Lauro, an ancient volcano, now dormant Hyblean plateau, and flows after a long journey in the Mediterranean Sea. According to Pliny, the Elder Irminio derives its name from Hermes, the ancient god in these waters fell in love with the nymph Dafnide. The reserve is situated in the territory of Ragusa and Scicli – a village in the province of Ragusa – and it is not far away from Marina di Ragusa. It was instituted in 1985 and has total surface area of 134,70 hectares. The reserve protects one of the last areas of dune forest maquis in Sicily and the final stretch of the course of the river Irminio. Along the banks of the river and in the valleys it flows in there are amphibians, reptiles, shellfish and freshwater fish. Reflecting the good quality of its clear waters there some insects that are environmental indicators. Typical of Sicilian dune environments is the sea lily (Pancratium maritimum). This flower colonizes the sands of dunes, and from the latter there emerge its thick leaves, which in summer wither, giving way to big white flowers that appear on the surface of the sand. Along the river there are also tall trees like poplars, willows and Eucalyptus. The reserve is a rest area for the migratory birds that fly from Africa to North Europe and vice versa. The commonest species to be found in the reserve are black-winged stilt, kingfisher, coot, little egret, common buzzard, great cormorant, falcon and many more. In addition to birds, in the reserve you can also see foxes, rabbits and coypus.
The Irminio flows cutting through the deep coastal dune stretch, constituted by sandy dunes well consolidated by a true tangle of vegetation typical of the old dune forest maquis. Once these dune systems characterized the coasts of southern Sicily and here they have miraculously escaped the disasters that have occurred in other areas on the island.


A nature path starts from the car park. It is easy to get to thanks to the signs. The path goes along the edge of the dune system as far as the course of the river Irminio near the estuary.


By car: from Catania take SS 514 as far as Ragusa, and then go along SP25 for Marina di Ragusa, and then SP63 for Donnalucata. After 2 kilometres you find the entrance to the reserve.
From Syracuse take SS 115 as far as Ispica, then continue for Pozzallo and go along the coast road as far as Marina di Ragusa. Then SP63 for Donnalucata and after 2 kilometres you find the entrance to the reserve.

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