Published On: Tue, Mar 10th, 2015

Sicily’s Salt Beaches

2 iStock_000014475739LargeThe idyllic island of Sicily is renowned the world over for sand, sun and food – but you may not have heard of its salt…

On first glance you may think wheelbarrows seem rather out of place on a Sicilian beach – however this is salt, not sand, and it really is collected in the same way as soil from the back garden. Sicily’s ancient salt reserves are characterised by lagoons and marshes with shallow water ranging from 50cm to 2m in depth. These were naturally created by undersea currents, causing gradual movement of the sand. The primary activity in the lagoons was, and still is, the production of salt. This ancient method dates back to Roman times and consists of channelling sea water into small ponds, allowing it to evaporate under the sun and collecting the salt. It is then left to dry in piles such as these, and covered with terracotta tiles that resemble the roof of a typical Mediterranean house.
The salt reserves are open to visitors with the other main points of interests being the wide variety of migratory birds, including flamingos (which stop
for a brief Italian vacation en route to Africa) and the old windmills, many of which have been restored to their former glory.

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