The Zingaro, the most fascinating nature reserve in north-east SicilyThe Zingaro Nature Reserve stretches for over 10 kilometres along the coast between Scopello and San Vito lo Capo. Numerous endemic plants can be found in the reserve, some of which are extremely rare such as the Chamaerops Humilis, a dwarf palm which has become the symbol of the reserve. Thirty nine different bird species nest in the reserve including ten pairs of Peregrine Falcon. Various trails run through the reserve; the most popular is the trail which runs the entire length of the reserve along the coast. Following the main trail, immediately after the entrance you pass through a tunnel which was part of an abandoned project to create a coast road and after a distance or around 100 metres you come to a turning which leads off to a picnic area. A short distance further on there is a Visitor Centre which houses a small Nature Museum followed by another turning which leads down to the inlet of Punta Capreria where there are two small pebble beaches set between the rocks.
Continuing on the main trail you cover around 2 kilometres of coastal moorland before arriving at Cala del Varo where there is a small lodge which is only open in summer. Slightly further on you arrive at the Zingaro area which forms the heart of the reserve and is covered with scrub and dwarf palms; the area also has a number of old rural buildings. The path then leads on to Contrada Marinella (and its delightful inlet of the same name) followed by Contrada Uzzo with its splendid beach of fine sand. A short deviation at this point leads to the Grotta dell'Uzzo which is of archeological interest. Less than 300 metres from the grotto is the Museo della Civiltà Contadina which houses a collection relating to the production of grain and examples of the different techniques used in the weaving of native fibres. Just before arriving at the North entrance to the Reserve you come to the Tonnarella dell'Uzzo, location of the Museo delle Attività Marinare. Water supplies are available along the trail at Cala del Varo (only during the summer months) and at the Museo della Civiltà Contadina at Contrada Uzzo. There are two other main trails in the Reserve - an upper trail and a mid trail.