From the main entrance, where there is the Information Point and a first hut for observing birds, once you reach the beach (7 min.) you can proceed either in the north or in the south direction. In the former case. moving between the coastline and the Big and Small Marshes, in succession you will meet the Swabian Tower, the Tuna Station and the Visitor Centre (7 min.), an observation point (14 min.) and the Calamosche beach (37 min.), from which wich a detour (18 min.) you can reach the entrance of the same name; heading southwards, immersed in the splendid vegetation with juniper maquis. between the shore and the banks of the Roveto ond Sichilli Marshes, you will meet in succession the mouth of the Sichilli Marsh (beyond which you come to a further observation point on the Sichilli Morsh with a slight detour), the beach and the Cittadella entrance (30 min.). From the north entrance, the Eloro one (near the archaeological area of the same name), proceeding southwords you reach the Stampace beach and the mouth of the river Tellaro (5 min.) as well as the Calamosche beach (20 min.), after you which can either head for the Calamosche entrance or go along the coast, to the souyh, thus getting onto the stretches of paths previously described.
THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT
The terrestrial environments enumerate precious phyto-sociological associations, proper to these systems and a big variety of species, some of which by have almost disappeared in the rest of Sicily. There is very dense Mediterranean maquis, which in generai characterizes the territory with lentisk, myrtle, alatern, spartium, wild olive trees, etc., rich in psammohalophilous and halophilous species. The sandy environment coastal includes, distributed in strips parallel to the coast from the shore towords inland, sea rocket, saltwort, beach-grass, Eryngium-creticum, maritime euphorbia. sea lily, beach restharrow, beach cornflower, maritime fennel, in the strips behind the dunes; an exclusive, dense and uninterrupted strip of maquis with juniper, together with ephedra, lentisk and phyllirea in the most inland and unmolested dunes. Vendicati represents not only an importont neuralgic area in the migratory and wintering routes of a lot of species of avifauna (over 200 species, some resident and some nesting, among which the spoonbill, the grey heron, the stork, the flamingo, the glossy ibis, the wild goose, the pink gull, the black-winged stilt, the stone curlew, etc.), but also gives shelter to very numerous mommals (Sicilian shrew, garden dormouse, hedgehog, pygmy shrew, vele, porcupine, fox, weasel), amphibions and reptiles (coluber. grass snake, leopard rat snake, green lizard. hemidactyl, marsh turtle) and insects. Also importont is the marsh environment, where there are numerous species of aquotic fauna (fishes, shellfishes, reptiles, amphibians, and insects) and submerged vegetation (algae and different phanerogams, proper to these environments). The marine environment in front of the marshes is among the areas identified by law (or the institution of a marine reserve (AMP).
THE VENDICARI WETLAND SYSTEM
Once exploited as saltpans, the pools are lined up along the coast in the north-south direction, (Small Marsh, Big Marsh, Roveto or Vendicari Marsh, Sichilli Marsh, Scirbia Marsh) for about 8 km, and are separated from the sea by a long and narrow strip of coastol dunes. Among them, the Roveto, Sichilli and Scirbia Marshes constitute the vastest basin, and its depth varies in relation to both atmospheric precipitations and the contribution of seao water, when there are heavy seas, through the Sichilli estuary; the Big Morsh and the Small Marsh are no longer naturally connected to the sea, but while the former is subject to temporary drying up during the summer season, the latter preserve its waters, thanks to the presence of underground sources.