♦ Sicily’s White Gold or “Pass the Salt”! ♦

Let's Go to Italy Together!♦ “The Salt Road” – Via del Sale ♦

The Via del Sale extends from Trapani to the Stagnone Lagoon to Marsala, including the island of Mòzia. Stagnone Lagoon is the largest lagoon on Sicily’s western coastline and when you reach Núbia and Saline dello Stagnone, you are greeted by a unique vista of salt-pans and ancient windmills…Photo Victoria De Maio

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Mòzia and Núbia’s salt-pans are worthwhile off-the-beaten-track destinations in Sicily…

Let's Go to Italy Together!The island of Mòzia was originally colonized by the Phoenicians around the 8th century BC. With its natural lagoons and high walls, it became a relatively important and easily defensible town. When the Phoenicians deserted Mòzia, the island fell into neglect until centuries later. (The ancient Phoenician causeway that once connected Mòzia to the shore is now submerged separating it from the shore and accessible only by ferry.)

Salt provided an industry that has flourished since Phoenician and Roman times and would be the mainstay of the local economy between the 14th and 17th centuries. The ideal conditions of the Stagno and Trapani salt marshes invited exploitation and reached the height of their importance in the 19th century when salt was widely exported.

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♦ Of Windmills and Salt Pans ♦Photo Victoria De Maio

These ancient windmills, however, were a medieval development. They provided a dual purpose: they helped to maintain the condition of the lagoon and island itself as well as the age-old tradition of salt extraction. Salt-pans were pumped by the windmills to drain the water, allow for evaporation, and ultimately for the salt to be extracted manually.Photo Victoria De Maio

The last stages were refining and grinding the sale for export. Since the salt is 100% natural and contains a higher concentration of potassium and magnesium than common salt but less sodium chloride, the trace elements are maintained which greatly enhances its flavor.

After the Unification of Italy in 1860, salt production along the coast reached its peak; 31 salt pans produced over 100,000 tons per year. Much of the salt was exported throughout Europe and as far away as Norway and Russia.

Photo Victoria De Maio

The unique scenery on Sicily’s western coast…

The age-old techniques have changed very little. Sea water is drawn into the salt-pans in early spring (February/March) where it eventually evaporates in the warm sun with the help of the warm North African winds. By mid-summer (July/August), it is dry enough to be manually harvested into pyramids, covered with tiles and left to dry out before cleansing and packaging.

Recently the mills and salt pans (called the Ettore Infersa) have been restored by the owners and opened to the public. There is a museum and shop, Museo delle Saline (Salt Marsh Museum), in a converted windmill.

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♦ Preserving a Tradition ♦

In 1984 the Lagoon was designated as a Regional Nature Reserve Islands of Marsala and the area is a WWF nature reserve thus protecting the habitat, wildlife, and sea waters from pollution and preserving this long time tradition of salt extraction.

Photo Victoria De Maio

I loved re-visiting this unique and fascinating part of Sicily…

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Wouldn’t you loVictoria -Vespa copy for site iconve to come to Italy with me? Unique cultural immersion, authentic experiences with local experts, small groups…la dolce vita! Your trip of a lifetime! Let’s go!

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About PostcardZ from Victoria

Wish you were here! I love sharing my passion for travel and insights I've learned along the way. Enjoy my travel tips and inspiration with a lighthearted twist! Join me as we create a forum for sharing experiences and information! Enjoy my newly published book, "Victoria's Travel TipZ Italian Style!" and then let's go to Italy together!
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4 Responses to ♦ Sicily’s White Gold or “Pass the Salt”! ♦

  1. orna2013 says:

    I need to do this soon! Hopefully next year. Love Sicily. Lovely blog. :-)

  2. So nice to read about the salt we use daily! Really enjoy the research you put into your blogs…you know I’m a sucker for a history lesson, especially if it’s food related!

    • Grazie, Phyllis! I do try to put some interesting history and background information in most of my posts. I was a teacher so researching and sharing via my travels and writing are a big part of what I love to do. Thrilled you’re enjoying it!

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