Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro – Italy

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Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro - Italy
Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro Italy

The Zingaro Natural Reserve (Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro) is one of the most beautiful areas in the Sicilia region, Italy, where the blue of the clear sky, the rainbow sea, green hills and coastal cliffs merge into a mesmerizing Mediterranean landscape.

The unique nature reserve is located in the province of Trapani (provincia di Trapani) in the western part of the Golfo di Castellammare on the San Vito Lo Capo peninsula, which offers a magnificent view of the Tyrrhenian Sea (mar Tirreno). It is surprising that in Italy there are still such corners of the earth where time has stopped in order to preserve the pristine beauty of wild nature for several millennia.

Description of Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro

The Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro, Italy extends for 7 km and includes the lands of the communes of San Vito Lo Capo and Castellammare, occupying 1,650 hectares of unspoiled nature. The rocky coastline of the Gulf of Castellammare is formed by Mesozoic dolomitic limestones, reaching 930 meters at the highest point of Monte Speziale. Starting in the south from the commune of Scopello and continuing north, there are a number of incredibly beautiful coves along the coast:

Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro - Italy
Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro Italy

Capreria (Cala della Capreria) Varo (Cala del Varo) Dissa or Zingaro (Cala della Disa o Zingaro) Beretta (Cala Beretta), Marinella (Cala Marinella) Torre del Uzzo (Cala Torre dell’Uzzo) Tonnarella dell’Uzzo.

Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro - Italy
Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro Italy

Explore Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro

Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro in Italy is an exclusively pedestrianized area. There is no road in it , which guarantees the enjoyment of the clean air and scents of the Mediterranean, as well as perfect silence, except for the noise of the wind and sea. Even now, all the necessary economic transportations, like several centuries ago, are carried out only on mules.

It will be interesting to continue your exploration of the Zingaro Reserve in its hidden corners. In the coastal zone of the natural park there have been underground passages and caves for a long time, among which the most interesting are Colombaccio (grotta della Colombaccio), Corvina (grotta della Corvina), Craperia (grotta della Craperia), Mustia (grotta della Mustia), Ficarella (grotta della Ficarella).

Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro - Italy
Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro Italy

For a more detailed insight into the history of the Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro, it is worth visiting museums: Nature (Museo Naturalistico), Maritime Activities (Museo delle Attivita Marinare), Peasant Civilization (Museo della Civilta Contadina), Manna (Museo della Manna). On the territory of the natural park, specially equipped places for recreation are provided, and it is also possible to stay for the night in small rural houses of the hotel type Contrada Sughero (they are open from October to May, you must book in advance).

Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro - Italy
Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro Italy

Flora 

The flora of the reserve is represented by various types of Mediterranean vegetation, some of which are found exclusively in this region and are endemic – rare and endangered (more than 40 species). On the lands of Zingaro, you can still find the cork oak (Quercus suber), which grows for 250-300 years and is a very valuable tree species native to southwestern Europe and Africa. Dwarf palms (Chamaerops humilis), perched along the rocky coastline or on the hills, create an unusual picture of the landscape.

Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro - Italy
Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro Italy

They are a kind of symbol of the reserve and are always present on postcard views of the exotic coast. On the eastern slope of the protected park are the largest groves of European dwarf palms. Other trees create the green landscape of the Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro: carob, almond, manna ash, wild olive, pine and oak. A lower niche of vegetation is occupied by small ferns, evergreen butcher bushes with red berries, grapes and many other varieties of rare and incredibly beautiful bushes and flowers.

In total, there are more than 670 plant species in the protected area, of which only about 130 lichens, 27 varieties of mushrooms and 25 varieties of wild orchids, among which there is a very rare flower in the shape of a crescent moon (Ophrys lunula).

Fauna

The quiet and safe Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro has been chosen by numerous birds, animals and inhabitants of the underwater world. 39 bird species nest here, of which the Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) and the Bonelli eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus) are rare specimens.

Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro - Italy
Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro Italy

The mammalian world consists of small inhabitants such as fox, rabbit, weasel, porcupine, hedgehog, voles, and bats. Diving enthusiasts will be pleasantly surprised when diving into the bright underwater world of the coast, the landscapes of which can be compared with coral reefs in terms of color and diversity. The intertidal zone is home to the flower-like purple-red sea anemone (Actinia equina), a marine predator that feeds on shellfish and small fish that can cause noticeable irritation on contact with human skin.

Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro - Italy
Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro Italy

Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro

Another unusual species – the sea anemone (Anemonia sulcata), poetically called “Hair of Venus”, is recognizable by the crown of small tentacles, the color of which varies from white to green to dark brown.

The exotic-looking marine life is a delicacy and is in demand among gourmets not only in Sicily, but also in Sardinia, Corsica, Andalusia and other regions; it is usually cooked in batter or breading. History of creation The history of the creation of the Zingaro reserve began in 1974 with the struggle of environmental activists against the construction of a coastal road and industrial buildings in one of the most beautiful corners of Sicily, Italy.

Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro - Italy
Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro Italy

Several naturalistic associations in Italy raised a wave of public outrage through the press and television and organized a protest march on May 18, 1980. About 3,000 people symbolically seized the territory of the started construction work and achieved their suspension.

In 1981, in accordance with regional law, the island’s first Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro, was officially established, which was transferred to the Regional Forestry of Sicily (Regionale Foreste Demaniali della Regione Sicilia). Today there are 33 nature reserves on the island that preserve the unique heritage of the nature, history and culture of Sicily.


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