NATURALIST ITINERARY OF SIRACUSE
CIANE AND "SALINE" (SALT-WORKS)
The source of the Ciane river, known since ancient times, forms a small lake dedicated to the nymph Ciane. Papyrus (L. Cyperus papyrus) still grows along its banks. At the mouth of the river we find the former salt-works ("saline"), now a stopping place for migratory birds.
THE ANAPO VALLEY
The valley of the Anapo river extends from the territory of Palazzolo Acreide through the towns of Cassaro, Ferla and Sortino. Part of the valley has been declared a nature reserve, offering the visitor "greenery and archaeology" in a suggestive and untouched setting. Visits are possible with the assistance of the Foresters. The predominant vegetation consists of shrubbery, while at the bottom of the valley Oriental plane-trees are in evidence. Birdlife, mammals and reptiles are abundant and varied: eagle-owls, Bonelli's eagles, kites, water ouzels, foxes, porcupines, martens, weasels, hares,exoticsnakes (the spotted coluber) and river crabs.
THE CAVA GRANDE
On the outskirts of Avola Antica, from the south side of the "cava" (quarry) one can enjoy a magnificent panorama. Going down the steep trail, at the bottom of the valley the visitor can admire splendid Oriental plane-trees.
This humid coastal area characterized by brackish marshes has been declared a nature reserve. The variety of diverse environments (rock, sea, sand, dunes, fresh and salt water), together with the evidence of human habitation going back to the Greek epoch, make it a unique place, The vegetation, due to the diversity of the region, is itself extremely varied, as evidenced by the presence of myrtle, lentiscus, thyme, wild garlic, sea lavender, thorny pimpernel, cade, rush, and reeds. Vendicari is, above all, a stopping-place for migratory birds, which include a number of species: spoonbills, flamingos, cranes, herons, black storks, pelicans and Audouin's gulls. The reptiles are another particular aspect of the region, which boasts such highly exotic species as the spotted coluber, the painted dicoglossus and the pond tortoise.
In the area around Mount Lauro there are several forests, such as Santa Maria and "il Pisano," with pines, cypresses, oaks, pubescent oaks, holm oaks, chestnuts, and other trees as well.
PANTANO LONGARINI AND PANTANO CUBA
Marshland ("pantano") quite similar to Vendicari, if somewhat smaller, they present fauna of great interest. They have not yet been declared nature reserves.
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