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The Zingaro Nature Reserve, a small paradise on the coast of Sicily
06 May 2014

The Zingaro Nature Reserve, a small paradise on the coast of Sicily

The Zingaro Nature Reserve stretches from San Vito Lo Capo to Scopello, in that section of coast that the Greeks and Romans used to call "Cetaria", because of the abundance of tuna in the sea. It’s one of the most famous reserves in Italy and the first of its kind in Sicily. The Reserve covers seven kilometers of shoreline and it’s a little paradise of unspoiled nature. The Zingaro is known for its deep blue sea, its quiet bays, the crystal clear waters and the underwater caves, but there is also so much more to it.

Within this area you'll find evidence of life dating back to eight thousand years ago, as in the spectacular Grotta Dell’Uzzo, next to which it has developed over time one of the most characteristic farming cultures. Inside the Reserve, you can still find almond trees, olive groves, white ashes and even crops that were carried out at about 700 meters above the sea level. Some of these agricultural areas are now active for trade, while another part belongs to private owners, who exploit it for personal use.

The Zingaro Nature Reserve is home to 39 different species of birds, especially birds of prey, along with a wide variety of rodents and other terrestrial animals, not to mention the multitude of marine creatures dwelling in the surrounding waters. The territory of the reserve can be visited only on foot, in order to prevent that any external interferences may disturb the peace of the local fauna.

You can follow three different routes to visit the park. The boardwalk path is the main one and the most favorite one to visitors. It covers a distance of seven kilometers, near the coast, and it takes about two hours. The middle coast path is the most scenic one and it covers a distance of eight kilometers and a half; it takes about four and a half hours. The upper trail is the most challenging one: it has a length of seventeen and a half kilometers and it takes seven hours.

In the territory of the Reserve, there are also the Natural History Museum, the Museum of Maritime Activities, the Museum of Rural Life and the Museum of Manna. In addition, within the park you will find two equipped areas, while the ancient rural blocks have been used as shelters, where it is also possible to stay overnight. These shelters are called Contrada Sughero and are available only from October to May.