FLORA & FAUNA
THE UNEXPECTED DIVERSITY OF SICILY
Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean and the largest region in Italy. Despite its relatively dense population of 205 inhabitants per square kilometre, its 4 major cities and many small towns worth seeing, there is still plenty of nature to marvel at. This is partly due to the fact that the major cities of Palermo, Catania, Messina and Siracusa are located by the sea and the inland is quite sparsely populated, and partly due to the Sicilians’ changed understanding of the environment. Today, almost 10% of Sicily’s territory is a nature reserve, a figure that no German state can match. But organic farming and renewable energies are also on the rise in Sicily.
National parks and reserves
The 5 regional parks, Etna, Nebrodi, Madonie, Alcantara and Monte Sicani are now joined by Sicily’s first national park Pantelleria, six marine protected areas and over 70 nature reserves.
Of the nature reserves, the Riserva naturale di Vendicari, Lo Zingaro, the Cava Grande di Cassibilie and the Pantallica Gorge are of particular importance to us, as they are close to our holiday homes and are ideal destinations for day trips and beach days.
The fauna (apart from the marine wildlife) is rather a sad chapter, as the big game has fallen victim to hunters or clear-cutting and only a few animals live in the nature reserves.