The natural reserves in the province of Trapani

Mount Cofano

The Oriented Nature Reserve, established in 1997, includes almost 350 different plants, dwarf palms (the giumarra), and others capable of resisting fires and frequent high summer temperatures. However, the traces of holm oak trees that once covered the sides of Monte Cofano have not completely disappeared.

From the botanical point of view, one of the most significant areas is the presence of Disa, the large ampelodesma where all sorts of small mammals and ovoviviparous take refuge.

The Monte Cofano area, a few steps from the Zingaro reserve , was already inhabited in the Paleolithic era. The village of Scurati , inside the homonymous cave, with its graffiti, is an example of this, it is here that the bread rite returns to relive every Christmas. Also of note are the caves of Miceli and Mangiapane where archaeological remains dating back to the Paleolithic period have been found.

Further down, towards the sea, some Spanish watchtowers and a tonnara complete the tour, suggesting the widespread organizational network of the old watchtowers that Camillo Camilliani wanted in Sicily in 1500.

Pantelleria Island

The island of Pantelleria is of volcanic origin, with a crystalline sea and dark rocks, rich in caves and testimonies of the past, protected since 1998, it has a dense Mediterranean vegetation, with palm trees and evergreen pine woods overlooking the sea. At a relatively short distance from the African coast, it is a good stopping point for migrants.

The Lake of Venus is an interesting naturalistic area born from underground saline springs.

Other naturalistic emergencies of the island are Montagna grande , Monte Gibele , and Monte Gelkhamahar . From the vegetational point of view, the island is characterized by the presence of the maritime pine of Aleppo. Broom, lemon and wallflower have developed local endemisms, along with many other species: Lampedusa, geographically isolated from other natural systems, has made its way.


Between Scopello (Castellammare) and San Vito lo Capo , this naturalistic area, established after a popular march that made the history of environmentalism in Sicily, offers suggestions from the Caribbean sea, geological and cultural emergencies.

About six hundred plant species present within the reserve area, next to the olive and mastic, the flagellar limonium , and Todaro, the dwarf palms , which in the Zingaro, thanks to the favorable climatic conditions, reach considerable dimensions, almost arboreal. The palm is able to withstand the high summer temperatures and can regrow even after fires. An omnipresent element of the local landscape, the palm has always been used for the artisanal creation of household items , such as brooms and hats. The presence of cork oak is also quite a peculiar fact.

The backdrops are rich in colors, entering the innermost paths, you move away from the sea but you discover another landscape. We suggest the wet area of the Acci district , where some pools of water host the river crab and the painted discoglossus.

Several aided paths lead to recovered museums and farmhouses. To see the Grotta dell'Uzzo , the Grotta del Sughero , the Grotta della Ficarella , once frequented by the monk seal .

Stagnone of Marsala

In a system of islets, rich in halophilic vegetation, in a shallow seabed populated by large predators, within an area of archaeological value among the most important in Sicily: Mothia , the Punic city that has recently returned to man the famous Young boy.

The lagoon embraces the island of San Pantaleo, formerly Mozia , the Scuola, Santa Maria and the Isola Grande, where the brackish water marshes are broken up by the ancient salt pans. Freshwater pools feed rushes, evergreen patches and a rich list of birdlife.

In a horizontal landscape, drawn by mills and salt pans, by agaves and mounds of salt, this reserve fascinates and enchants, especially at sunset. A continuous connection service is active daily with the islets, easily reachable in a few minutes of navigation.

Saline of Trapani and Paceco

Much of the Reserve includes private properties, in which small and large companies carry out the millenary activity of the "cultivation" of salt .

Here, in fact, the salt pans still work, marked by sunrises and sunsets, seasons and colors. And the pools and the nearby areas have become a resting area for migratory birds, including herons, the area is frequented by about 200 species.

The Avocetta was elected symbol of the Reserve . A real "attraction" of the Reserve is the so-called " Mushroom of Malta ", actually a parasitic plant and rare species: in Italy, in addition to the area between Trapani and Marsala, it is only possible to observe it in a few coastal areas of Sardinia and Basilicata. Among the invertebrates, we find a small crustacean, the Artemia salina , still an object of great interest, both in systematic and pure research terms and in applied research.

Alcamo wood

The natural area, a reserve since 1984, entrusted to the Province three years later, is interesting for its vegetation variety and for the presence of a mouse, the quercino, with its typical mask. Inhabited since the Bronze Age, today it retains some traces of a castle built by the Ventimiglias.

Mouth of the Belice

Established in 1984, this splendid naturalistic area is characterized by the dunes around which a particular flora and fauna system has formed.

The area between Marinella di Selinunte and Porto Palo, characterized by marshy vegetation on the terminal shaft of the belice, where many species of birds stop and nest.

There are some stable dunes, which hinder the salty winds and prevent the advance of the sands towards the interior. The instability of the coast does not prevent a spontaneous flowering of flora and fauna, especially invertebrates and reptiles.

Grotto of Santa Ninfa

Speleological complex of karst nature on a chalky base , it extends for over a kilometer, with a system of communicating caves.

The high naturalistic value of the cave of Santa Ninfa is also linked to the presence of an interesting cave fauna, adapted to live in the absence of light and in environments with high humidity.

There are about 60 cavities, rich in minerals with bizarre shapes, straddling the municipalities of Gibellina and Santa Ninfa, fed by the Biviere stream , which originates on clayey soils on the slopes of Monte Finestrelle (site of an early Christian necropolis), and ends its course shallow in a large blind valley occupied by vineyards.

A small underground river feeds the cave. In the Biviere area, we find tree euphorbia, thyme and wild orchids; in the valleys there is a luxuriant riparian vegetation, of great interest for the high diversity of the flora.

Preola and Gorghi Tondi

In Mazara del Vallo, a reserve since 1998, entrusted to the WWF, it consists of 4 lakes of karst origin, surrounded by reeds and dense low lake vegetation, excellent shelter for migratory and sedentary birds. The dwarf palm, the calliprine oak, the mastic tree grow there, and there is also a rich fauna. The area can be used all year round upon reservation to be made by contacting the offices of the managing body. A visit is recommended in spring and autumn , when several species of aquatic avifauna are passing through and / or wintering in the area.

The Visitor Center with multimedia teaching room , two nature trails equipped with relative observatories on Lake Preola and Gorgo Basso are available for use.

The observatory on Gorgo Basso can also be reached by people with disabilities after about 180 meters of a path immersed in the luxuriant Mediterranean scrub.

The observatory on Lake Preola makes it easy and without disturbance to observe various species of aquatic avifauna, especially in the spring period, when some species have nested among the reeds surrounding the shallow waters of the Preola.