Torre Salsa Nature Reserve



Torre Salsa Nature Reserve comprises over 760 hectares of pristine coastline and around 6km of gorgeous sandy beaches. Instituted in 2000, it is managed by the WWF. The reserve’s territory features a wide variety of landscapes including hills, winter torrents, chalk cliffs, arable fields and wetlands, all of which provide the perfect natural habitat for numerous species of animals and birds, and excellent walking opportunities for visitors.
The transparent, many-blue-hued waters that lap the coast are rich in marine life, making scuba diving and snorkelling popular pursuits. The golden sandy beaches, the longest of which runs around a curvaceous bay in the eastern part of the reserve, are the real draw for visitors, however, and it is possible to walk for miles along them. At the western boundary of the reserve, the beach continues for some 5km up to Eraclea Minoa.

There are four main entrances to the reserve, all accessible from Siculiana and Monallegro. Dirt tracks from two of these wind through the reserve down to the WWF parking area. From there it is a short stroll to the beach, which, even in high summer, is sparsely populated. There are no facilities in the reserve, so if you’re planning on spending several hours there, it is best to come prepared with food, water and an umbrella.

History

The oldest information about Torre Salsa go back to the end of 1500, when the viceroy MA Colonna commissioned the arch. C. Camilliani to conduct a study for the defense of the Sicilian coast from Saracen raids. So the tower Salsa, from which the reserve is named, was designed for this purpose. The base and part of the perimeter walls are what remains today of the original structure. Signs of past civilizations may be found even near the "Pantano" where stands a tower that probably goes back to year 800 used to control the feud. At the base of the rocky wall you can observe various graves traced back to the Byzantine era. Also in an almost inaccessible place called "Juniper Valley" because of the presence of several Phoenician junipers, a "Calcara" raises, a small structure, testimony of the ancient techniques used for the chalk production used in buildings. Since the 70s, the WWF has been at the forefront in the defense of this part of the coast, buying a small part of it in order to contribute to the creation of regional reserve.