The natural reserves in the province of Caltanisetta

They are ideal environments for birdwatching and for lovers of nature photography .

Cork wood of Niscemi

Once large cork forests covered the internal districts of Sicily, and were a not indifferent part of the local economy, the cork wood of Niscemi is a testimony of that past.

The Natural Reserve Oriented Cork of Niscemi , in the province of Caltanissetta was born in 1997 to protect the residual evidence of this cork wood, an evergreen oak very similar to holm oak, this Mediterranean plant can grow even in the presence of a dry and arid climate . It grows up to 15 m and can live up to a hundred years, from its bark, thick and somewhat wrinkled, according to an ancient process, generally in the summer, the cork is obtained, for industrial or domestic use.

In the cork forest of Niscemi lives a colorful bird, the bee-eater , a migrant who in the past risked extinction due to poaching. Next to the old cork trees, the hiker finds holm oaks and downy oaks, and the evergreen shrubs typical of the Mediterranean scrub-forest: mastic, carob, olive, myrtle, strawberry tree, phillyrea and dwarf palm. In the undergrowth the wild cat and the fox live hunting dormice and oak mice, but porcupines and other small mammals are not rare.

The protected area occupies an area in the southern part of the plateau on which the town of Niscemi stands. The visitor who loves the landscape and nature photography will find here many points for observation and reflection: you can try your hand at macro photos of flowers, such as the red rockrose or the rose of San Giovanni, and of butterflies .

Contrada Scaleri

Area of geological interest, two kilometers from Santa Caterina Villarmosa , in the province of Caltanissetta, relevant for the presence of plaster collapses on karst plants, subject to protection since 1997, it is a favorite place for spontaneous orchid blooms. The naturalistic value lies in the coexistence of high botanical references and in the phenomenon of water erosion on calcareous and chalky rocks by the combined natural pressures.

The attention of the scientific community has often concentrated here, due to a vast series of still little-known stones . The most common rock fragments found within the reserve are the small flutes, alongside smooth and gradually deteriorating stone fragments that represent miniature karst systems.

Soprano lake

It is called this way, even if the locals mean by this name the basin of the Gazzana district (the old Soprano lake), distinct from that of the "Lago Sottano", but both have for some time been subject to the constraint of absolute non-building in order to ensure protection. of their landscape value. This is the result of constant pressure from environmental associations, which since 2000 have obtained the recognition of a protected natural area.

This lake, near Serradifalco, in the province of Caltanissetta, arises from the karst depression originating from the incessant course of the aquifers.

Its shallow waters, at most two meters, are home to various fish species, such as carp and perch, and sedentary birds, among its reeds the marsh turtle is not rare.

Due to its vegetational emergencies, the Italian Botanical Society has included the lake among the biotopes of significant vegetational interest and worthy of conservation.

In the past, man has lived together on the shores of this area by exploiting the waters: some remnants of the ancient custom of water mills have in fact remained.

Biviere of Gela

The strategic position, on the south coast of Sicily, overlooking the Strait of Sicily, and the place rich in humid environments makes it an ideal area for migratory birds , such as the herons that winter here from colder countries.

Proclaimed reserve in 1997, and entrusted to Lipu, it also hosts foxes, rabbits, and other minor rodents. The Biviere di Gela is the largest coastal lake in Sicily, and one of the main "resting areas" for migratory birds.

The list of avifauna present here is rich, several nature trails branch off from a well-equipped visitor center. One, in particular, crosses the reeds: it is ideal for bird watching .

Broken Lake

Since 1997 integrated reserve, managed by Legambiente since 1998, falls within the territory of the Municipality of Caltanissetta. It is an interesting basin from a geological point of view, at 370 m: its bed sank in 1907 due to the collapse of the underlying limestone rocks, melted over time by the water. Ten meters deep, it forms a closed basin fed by lake springs.

Today it hosts various migratory and sedentary , over 20 species of wild orchids and the famous Mandrake, the poisonous and aphrodisiac herb . The fauna consists of rabbits, hare, fox, barn owl, buzzard, kestrels.

In the surroundings, it is worthwhile to make an archaeological excursion to the early Christian necropolis of Monte Mimiani , whose finds are housed in the Archaeological Museum of Caltanissetta. Furthermore, the Necropolis of Valle Oscura and the former rock salt mine of Trabona.


Area of high naturalistic value due to the coexistence of geological and environmental elements, it hosts numerous species of migratory birds, such as herons.

Mount Capodarso, a limestone rock, reserves a series of caves , some of which are an impenetrable kingdom of bats. The Reserve was established by the Region in 1999.

Monte Conca

An integrated reserve that offers a series of unique suggestions. In the territory of Campofranco, in the province of Caltanissetta, caves, humid environments, and areas of archaeological value give rise to a unique naturalistic-cultural system.

Next to the remains of the Neolithic settlements , we find in fact some humid karst caves (the Inghiottitoio and the Risorgenza), and a system of fauna-vegetational elements of all importance. For this reason, since 1995, the legislator has intended to place this unique area under protection, naturally entrusting it to the CAI. Fossils of marine origin are not rare.

The protected area is entirely crossed from east to west by the Gallo d'Oro river , which about three km downstream of the reserve flows into the Platani river.