In Vendicari’s Nature Reserve, in the province of Siracusa (near Noto), at certain times of the day the voice of the wind and sea fills what seems like a metaphysical gap. You have the feeling that some troubled divinity has just shied away from the sun, surprised by its unexpected arrival.
Men have lived in this solitude for centuries, leaving many traces behind: the ancient Hellenistic tanks, carved in the rocks and used to process fish; the furrows made by wagons that transported tuna, cured with local salt; the catacombs, sepulchers, and a Byzantine church called Trigona, which has a typical cubic shape and central dome. And there’s more: the 15th-century Swabian Tower, and the looming smokestack of the tuna factory, which was in operation from the 1700s to the mid-1900s.
Vendicari – which was included among the “Wetlands of International Importance” in 1984 – is a reserve of 1,512 hectares alternating groves, vineyards, olive trees, gardens and morasses of both salt and fresh water. An ecosystem that migratory birds from Africa have learned to appreciate, as they stop here before scattering themselves throughout Europe.
At certain times of the day, all you can hear is the voice of the sea and wind. And you feel like you can grasp the fleeting shadow of some troubled divinity.