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Vendicari Fauna Reserve

The Natural Environment Of The Reserve

Both the terrestrial environments surrounding the marshes and the aquatic ones are characterized by an extraordinary variety of habitats and exceptional biodiversity: this is due, as concerns the former, to the presence of very different substrata and particular hydro-geological characteristics; and to the different physical-chemical characteristics of the waters, regarding the latter. Hence the terrestrial environments enumerate precious phyto-sociological associations, proper to these systems and big variety of species, some of which by have almost disappeared in the rest of Sicily. There is very dense Mediterranean maquis, which in general characterizes the territory with lentisk, myrtle, alatem, spartium, wild olive trees, etc., rich in psammo-halophilous and halophilous species. The sandy environment coastal includes, distributed in strips parallel to the coast from the shore towards inland, sea rocket, saltwort, beach-grass, Eryngium creticum, maritime euphorbia, sea lily; beach restharrow, beach cornflower, maritime fennel, in the strips behind the dunes; an exclusive, dense and uninterrupted strip of maquis with juniper, together with ephedra, lentisk and phyllirea in the most inland and unmolested dunes. This big variety of intact environments is the essential basis for variegated presence of ecological niches, elsewhere unimaginable, which afford a refuge for an elevated number of animal species, many of them on the way to extinction in Sicily. Hence Vendicari represents not only an important neuralgic area  in the migratory and wintering routes of a lot species of avifauna (over 200 species, some resident and some nesting, among which the spoonbill, the grey heron, the stork, the flamingo, the glossy ibis, the wild goose, the pink gull, the black-winged stilt, the stone curlew, etc.) but also gives shelter to very numerous mammals (Sicilian shrew, garden dormouse, hedgehog, pyghmy shrew, vole, porcupine, fox, weasel), amphibians and reptiles (coluber, grass snake, leopard rat snake, green lizard, marsh turtle) and insects.
Also important is the marsh environment , where there are numerous species of aquatic fauna (fishes, shellfishes, reptiles, amphibians and insects) and submerged vegetation (algae and different phanerogams, proper to these environments).
The marine environment in front of these marshes -  characterized by low seabed constituted both by rock covered by algal associations and by sandy environments and grasslands  of  Poseidonia oceanica, and populated by appreciated fish fauna (sea-bass, sea bream, dassie) - is among the areas indentified by law for the institution of a marine reserve (AMP).

Founded in March 1984 to allow birds to call in and nest and to permit conservation of the psammo-halophilous and Mediterranean vegetation, the reserve is in the south-eastern tip of Sicily, in a vast area particularly characterized by a complex system of coastal marshes. It has a surface area of 1235,7 hectares. It lies in the territory of the Commune of Noto. The area has also been included among “wetlands of international importance”, has been identified as a Site if Community Interest (SCI) and a Special Protection Area (SPA) and belongs to the Important Bird Area (IBA) of the Vendicari Marshes and Capo Passero.

Itineraries

Parallel to the whole coastal stretch of the reserve there is a series of easy paths (accessible from the Eloro, Calamosche, Principale and Citadella entrances) which you can go along almost without a break, or singly or in segments.
From the main entrance, where is the Information Point and a first hut for observing birds, once you can reach the beach (7min) you can proceed either in the north or in the south direction. In the former case, moving between the coastline and the Big and Small Marshes, in succession you will meet the Swabian Tower, the Tina Station and the Visitor Centre (7min), an observation point (14min) and the Calamosche beach (37min), from which with a detour (18min) you can reach the entrance of the same name; heading southwards, immersed in the splendid vegetation with juniper maquis, between the shore and the banks of the Roveto and Sichili Marshes, you will meet in succession the mouth of the Sichili Marsh (beyond which you come to a further observation point on the Sichili Marsh with a slight detour), the beach and the entrance (30min).


From the north entrance, the Eloro one (near the archaeological area of the same name), proceeding southwards you reach the Stampace beach and the mouth of the river Tellaro (5min) as well as the Calamosche beach (20min), after which you can either head for the Calamosche entrance or go along the coast, to the south, thus getting onto the stretches of paths previously described.

HOW TO REACH

By car: you can get to the Reserve entrances from Syracuse, along the SP19 Noto-Pachino road, on the A18 motorway. Go far as cassibile and the along the SS115 to Noto, and the SP19 towards Pachino.


Vendicari Wetland System

The Vendicari Marshes constitute the northernmost system of the vast complex of wetlands in the coastal stretches that stretch for some kilometres between Pozzallo, Pachino and Avola. Once exploited as saltpans, the pools are lined up along the coast in the north-south direction (Small Marsh, Big Marsh, Roveto or Vendicari Marsh, Sichilli Marsh, Scirbia Marsh) for about 8km, and are separated from the sea by a long and narrow strip of coastal dunes. Among them, the Roveto, Sichilli and Scirbia Marshes constitute the vastest basin, and its depth varies in a relation to both atmospheric precipitations and the contribution of sea water, when there are heavy seas, through the Sichilli estuary; the Big Marsh and the Small Marsh are no longer naturally connected to the sea, but while the former is subject to temporary drying up during the summer season, the latter preserve its waters, thanks to the underground sources.









Signs Of Man

Ancient uninterrupted frequentation of the area, starting from the Bronze Age, is testified to by the presence of zones of historical-archaeological interest (Latomies, Hellenistic establishment for processing of fish, necropolis and small Byzantine basilica, Eloro Greek ruins, eighteen-century farms, etc.) Some of these - like the Swabian Tower built in the 13th century to protect the coast from Saracen raids and active until the end of the eighteenth century, and the remains of the adjacent Vendicari tuna station, which worked until 1944 - strongly characterize the skyline of the Reserve area.


Movie:Vendicari's Tower
Source:
Dipartimento dei Beni culturali e dell'Identità siciliana
Created By: No real





 



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Caretta Caretta  Tourtle lays  its eggs in Vendicari Beach during summer nights between May and August,
after around 60 days small tourtles brake th eggs and reach the sea. Central part of Vendicari beach is closed in order to protect Caretta caretta,let's
Respect the enviroment.
Once adult new born tourtles will come back  to lay their eggs again in the same beach




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Special Thank you for the text to the "Azienda Regionale Foreste Demaniali"

 
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