Discovering Capo Gallo Nature Reserve in Sicily

March 4, 2015

Capo Gallo Nature Reserve is a regional nature reserve located in Sicily and established on 21st June 2001. It comprises an area of 586 hectares and the massif of Monte Gallo mainly composes it. Said massif is a huge conglomeration of carbonate, formed in prehistoric times, culminating with the promontory called Capo Gallo. Monte Gallo is classifiable as a karst mountain, characterized by several superficial and endogenic erosive features, and just as many cavities. It overlooks the sea, with its northern side still well preserved as far as natural features are concerned, characterized by a bushy vegetation and large elements of Mediterranean maquis. On the other hand, the southern side looks rather barren and rocky but what now looks like a wild prairie and steppe-like soil, was once cultivated with olive trees.

The promontory of Capo Gallo is located north-west of Palermo and it is enclosed between the two gulfs of Mondello and Sferracavallo. On it stands an imposing lighthouse, to signal its location to mariners.

The reserve’s territory stretches from Punta Barcarello to Capo Gallo and it represents the natural closing point of the mountains bordering the Conca d'Oro.

Capo Gallo Nature Reserve’s main feature is its biodiversity, with different microsystems co-existing within it. The caves in this area have very bizarre forms, shaped by the sea, with historical traces and very ancient artifacts inside of them. The sea bottoms are rich in fauna and they presents a particularly varied and colorful vegetation; here lie the wrecks of ancient ships, including a Carthaginian one, as well as anchors and amphorae of various sizes.

As for the mammals inhabiting the area of the reserve, there are foxes, wild rabbits and the local species of the Sicilian shrew. There are also numerous species of birds flying over the area, such as the blue rock thrush, the robin, the blue tit, the blackbird and the chaffinch. Among the reptiles, you can find the country lizard, the green lizard and the Sicilian lizard. There are also small amphibians, as well as various species of crustaceans and shellfishes on the coast of the reserve.

The Capo Gallo Nature Reserve presents three possible entrances, one to the east, one on the western side and one to the southern one. The first one of them uses a private path, going from the Tower of Mondello to the lighthouse of Capo Gallo; since it belongs to a private, however, this access point is chargeable.

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