Visit the largest salt pans in Italy and Birdwatching.
The wetlands of the Saline near Margherita di Savoia, is an area of approximately 4,000 hectares. It forms the largest maritime salt extraction area in Italy. This covers most of the area that was the Salpi Lake until the first decades of the last century. It was a coastal reservoir of brackish and swampy waters that gave its name to ancient Salarpa.
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It was here that Emperor Federico II (Friedrich von Hohenstaufen) spent his days hunting falcons. At the end of his life, Federico even wrote a standard work on falconry: De Arte Venandi cum Avibus (About the art of hunting with birds). We suggest that in addition you also visit the castle of Gioia del Colle and learn more about Yolande, his wife, and a special story about his mistress.
After the Ramsar Convention of 1971 this area became a national nature reserve and wetland area of international importance.
It is a microcosm of swamps strewn with clumps of tamarisk (salt cedar, see photo) and reed. This gives the visitors of our time the primitive charm of the swamp world and the intense emotions as experienced by Federico II.
In ponds of brackish water at the nature reserve of the Saline of Margherita di Savoia, only separated from the sea by thin strips of land, white pyramids of salt crystals are formed. The sight of the soft dunes with here and there brown tufts of reeds compensates the hardness of the salt.
Numerous migratory birds regularly stay here to reproduce or hibernate. According to a recent survey conducted by the forestry, there are for instance 7500 widgeons; 3200 Mountain Ducks; 1100 teals; 5000 coots and 2500 avocet.
So, armed with binoculars or cameras, you can admire the elegant white herons or pink flamingos. But also beautiful birds of prey (such as hawk and kestrel) and many water birds.
There are two ways to visit the saltpans:
Book on Groupon:
There are packages for 2 or 4 participants.
If you want to use this during your stay in Villa Lavanda, I will, after transferring the amount, order this coupon for you and if you specify the desired day and time, I can book it for you. Or book it yourself via this link.
It takes about 90 minutes and the guide who does the excursion will join you in your car and take you to different places. Besides showing the flamingos, he also shows you plants that grow in this salty landscape. For example, Salicornia. He will also tell you how the various basins function and how the salt is extracted. He doesn’t speak English. However, there are also English tours that are done by a lady and are generally in the afternoon.
Definitely worth doing and, since it is much more northern than Bari, good to combine with for example, a visit to the Castel Del Monte, Trani, or other places in the area.
Another possibility via the Centro di Educazione Ambientale Margherita di Savoia: here you also use your own car and you are obliged to take a guide:
The basic price is 10 Euro per person + 2 Euro per person for every extra hour
1) Visit Salina (2 hours)
– Evaporation zone (bird watching)
– Salt zone (the salt extraction process)
– The activities of the salt winners
– Stacking (mountains of salt)
– Salt transport (if carried out)
2) As above (3 hours) + Laboratory and filmed historical museum of salt works.
3) Visit salt zone and birds (duration 3 hours) possible from August 1-March 15
– Evaporation zone (bird watching)
– Bird watching on the heron path further as under 1)
– Salt collection (only if in progress)
for more information:
Legambiente Margherita di Savoia Tel. +390883657519