Spiaggia Vendicari

La tonnara di Vendicari
If you like hiking on the beaches and birdwatching, this is paradise for you.
The Vendicari Nature Reserve, open throughout the year, is a narrow strip of marshy coastline covering 574ha and provides a rare, and now completely protected habitat for migratory species and a highly peculiar kind of sand-loving Mediterranean vegetation. The large stretch of swamp, a hostile environment in many ways because of high salinity levels, has evolved a very unusual ecosystem which continues to attract vast numbers of birds passing through the area on migration.
During the autumn months, it is common to see a variety of waders: grey heron, little egret, white and black stork, greater flamingo. Later lesser black-backed, slender-billed and audouin’s gulls regularly winter in the area. Between November and March, when the level of the water rises, the swamps attract many species of wintering duck, including teal, shoveler, pintail, mallard, tufted duck, pochard and red-crested pochard. Among the few species to breed here, there are black-winged stilt (white body, black wings, long red legs) – adopted as the emblem of Vendicari, as well as Kentish plover, little tern, reed warbler and little bittern.
The best time of day for bird-watching is the early morning or late afternoon. Needless to say, binoculars are vital. The track briefly skirts the edge of the Pantano Grande before leading off towards the so-called Torre Sveva, actually erected in the 15C by Peter of Aragon, and the chimney that rises from among the ruins of the tonnara (tuna-fishery) which functioned until the Second World War. Nearby, set back against the rocks where the waves break over the shore, sit the vestiges of a Hellenistic fish-processing plant: the tanks were used to steep the excess fish before salting them (tarichos) or using the by-products to make garum or fishpaste by breaking down the fish gut and off-cuts in sea-water – a highly lucrative commodity that was traded right across the Mediterranean from Phoenician to Roman times.

How to reach Vendicari
Reached the main entrance of the Vendicari, along a small stretch to walk along a wooden walkway that leads directly on the beach