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ARTS AND POPULAR TRADITIONS ITINERARY
Home Page > Arts and traditions itinerary > Itinerary:
Source of River Ciane Palazzolo Museum Favignana Tuna fishery
Ethnographic Museum Buscemi Museum Scopello Tuna fishery
The Salt Road      
Portopalo Tuna fishery
:: The Salt Road (Marsala - Trapani)

Along the road that runs from Trapani to Paceco and Marsala, skirting the lagoon of lo Stagnone where Motya lies, it is possible to see numerous dazzlingly white mountains shimmering in the sun. These are not snow-capped mountains but hills of salt, one of the Sicilian economy's historical resources that was already very precious in the days of the Phoenicians, who were the first to bring some form of technology to its production. The favourable climatic circumstances, such as high temperatures and a wind that increases evaporation, plus the shallowness of the water, contribute to create the evocative and unreal scenario created by the salt flats, which form a sort of immense chessboard that ranges in colour from off-green to pink. The tourist paths for visits to the salt flats wind their way around the great basins and, running along the edges of the tanks of seawater - which glistens in the sun as it crystallizes - finally reach the mounds of salt. These mounds are topped by a series of recently restored windmills that recall the days when they were among the main instruments for pumping the water and grinding the salt. A panorama that has to be enjoyed, preferably at sunset, when everything becomes tinged with red.

 

Nubia Salt Museum (Trapani)

Nubia Salt Museum - TrapaniThe first stop to make on the salt road as one proceeds along coast road SP 21 in the direction of Marsala is at Nubia, the World Wildlife Fund base that manages the Riserva Naturale delle Saline di Trapani e Paceco (Trapani and Paceco Salt Flats Nature Reserve), where a "Salt Museum" has been set up in a 300-year-old salt-working house. Here are illustrated the various phases of the working of the salt, and some of the equipment used for extracting and gathering the salt is also displayed: the gears of the mills, shovels, cogwheels, taps, pinions. The information panels on the walls and the photographs of the salters at work combine to immerge visitors in the world of the salt flats and tell them of a craft with fixed times and rituals that were handed down from father to son. A little known activity, at the base of which there was a passion and a particular relationship with the waters of the sea that was akin to that felt by fishermen.

 

Ettore and Infersa Salt Museum (Marsala)

The most spectacular salt flats are to be seen along highroad SP 21 in the direction of lo Stagnone - the "Ettore e Infersa" salt flats are well signposted. Thanks to the passionate interest of two men, Ettore and Infersa, who restored and returned to working order a mill over 500 years old, once an indispensable instrument for the grinding of the salt, it is still possible to savour the fascination of this ancient craft. The star-shaped Dutch-type windmill consists of its truncated-cone base, a cupola, and six trapezoidal sails with a wooden framework, to which is applied the fabric of the sails that rotate in the wind. Inside the windmill, a complicated system of cogwheels and gears makes it possible to turn the cupola and the sails, exploiting the energy of the wind in order to grind the salt and channel the water. This particular windmill is connected to what is known as an Archimedean screw. The scales can rotate at a speed of 20 km per hour and generate 120 horsepower; to drive the grindstone on the ground floor it is necessary to reach at least 30 to 40 horsepower.

 

Different details of The Salt Road (Marsala - Trapani)

 

   
 
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