Italian gardens and parks: Natural Reserve of Ciane river and Saline of Siracusa
- WTI Magazine #166 Aug 19, 2023
In Sicily, 8 km west of Siracusa, surrounded by orange trees and vineyards, is the Nature Reserve of Ciane river and Saline of Siracusa. The name Ciane has Greek origins and draws the blue-green color of its waters (Cyanos).
The reserve includes the river, which originates in Cugno Cardinale and flows into the great harbor of Siracusa, and the wet area of the salt marshes. Established by the Department of Environment and Territory of the Sicily Region in 1984, the reserve is oriented to the preservation of the papyrus.
The reserve covers 317 hectares of marshland and flat land, characterized by marshy vegetation and citrus groves, crossed by a route running through small bridges or browsing directly on water. The reserve can be observed from the archaeological site of the Temple of Olympian Zeus, located in an elevated position at a short distance.
Flora and fauna
The vegetation along the banks formed by riparian plants, among which dominates the Cyperus papyrus var siculus, from which are extracted natural fibers for the production of papyrus paper: according to recent studies, it seems that it is indigenous of Sicily. The stems, 3-4 meters high, topped by a tuft inflorescences, create an African environment.
We can also find the common reed (Phragmites australis), the purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), the water mint (Mentha aquatica), watercress (Nasturtium officinale) pendulous sedge (Carex pendula) and sedges shore (Carex riparia). Ash trees, poplars and willows are the kind of tree surrounding the papyrus.
The reserve hosts many migratory birds such as the Italian knight (Himantopus himantopus), the moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) and the bittern (Lxobrychus minutus) and water birds such as the flamingo, the gray heron, purple heron, mallards and teal.