Trapani salt pans and Stagnone islands
Its inhabitants use to say that Trapani is "the city of salt, wind and badmouth": these peculiarities have always been capitalized by the city into profitable activities!
Salt pans are administrated by the WWF, and are located along the coastline between Trapani and Marsala: if you watch them from a high position (best view is from Erice), they look like a sort of irregular chessboard where every stretch of water seem to fade into pink.
The Phoenicians were the first to understand the environmental and climatic potential of this area: the floor is low and the wind enhances the evaporation. This is why they built a salt extraction and processing system that is nowadays still in use. Salt water, thanks to the action of windmills, was taken to low tanks where it was heated; after the evaporation, salt was left on the floor, and collected twice a year. A lot of salt pans use the same collecting system nowadays, and windmills are just evidences of the old times (as well as a wonderful background for dreamy postcards).
In 2011, Trapani salt pans have been recognized as "Ramsar damp area" since a lot of migratory birds stop here for a "break" from their long journeys such as flamingos, seagulls, kingfishers, Italian knights and a lot more, up to 170 species.
The Stagnone Reserve includes four islands: Longa island, Santa Maria, Schola and San Pantaleo (Mozia). Mozia certainly is the most beautiful and interesting one: inhabited by the Phoenicians, the island is actually an open-air museum thanks to all the exhibits and evidences of this civilization that can be observed walking on this land.