Sicily is full of human wonder. Ancient artifacts, historical relics, enchanting stone villages and other marvels of human engineering on both land and sea. But one of the most pleasant discoveries found here is access to nature. The landscape is rich, wild, and incredibly varied, with hilly plains, towering stone mountains, and a coastline of incredible, jaw-dropping beauty.
It’s true what Goethe said about the island:
“To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is not to have seen Italy at all, for Sicily is the clue to everything.”
One of our favorite outdoor places to visit is Lo Zingaro Natural Reserve (The Gypsy in Italian) located in the Province of Trapani, just outside of the San Vito Lo Capo. It is locally revered for its stunning beauty, but also for the inspiring story of the community coming together to protect it.
Prior to 1981, when it was established as a Natural Reserve, the Italian government had plans to build a road from San Vito Lo Capo, a popular beach destination, to Scopello, another tourist attraction (with a rich history of its own). Construction began with the digging of a short tunnel at one end of the 7km stretch of coastline. The people living in the region, who had already voiced their objection, asserted their continued protest by physically blocking the tunnel entrance and creating a floating, supportive blockade of boats in the sea. The maneuver worked and the government surrendered their plans and ceased all further construction.
Today, this area is hugely popular to avid hikers, outdoors people, as well as regular walkers. It is an unspoiled landscape reached only by foot. On one side you have the Tyrrhenian Sea and on the other it is backed by steep cliffs. It is home to some 600 species of plants and over 40 species of birds nest and mate there. It is also of great archeological interest with evidence of prehistoric settlements.
The access to the trail is from both San Vito Lo Capo (North entrance) and Scopello (South entrance). Along the trail, there are beautiful coves and small beaches that are accessible. The trail is also dotted here and there with mini museums where docents demonstrate and talk about the traditional ways of fishing, crafts, farm life, and manna harvest.
It truly is one of the most relaxing, wonderful places we’ve visited in Sicily.
To learn more about Sicily and its treasures, please visit Sicily Connect and take a look at our small, slow, immersive group tours designed to connect you to the people, culture and cuisine of Sicily. And for a limited time enjoy a 40% discount for a paid subscription.