Not only sea: Sicily lakes
Sicily is surrounded by many small watercourses, they represent a very important resource for watering this dry land. That’s why Sicily has an abundance of artificial lakes, where the water from the small rivers is stored. There is also the possibility to visit lakes of natural origin, they are mainly near the coast or within nature reserves. So why not choose to relax near a lake, in a unique and breath-taking setting?
Our journey begins in the Nebrodi Park, where we find Lake Biviere.
Hidden in the thick vegetation, it is a popular tourist destination (especially during the summer) also because it offers a stunning view of the Etna volcano. It is a perfect place of peace and harmony where you can enjoy the silence or the soft sounds of nature. In the Nebrodi we also find Ancipa Lake, which is at an altitude of 1000 metres and is the highest lake in the region. It was created in the 1950s by damming the Troina river to produce electricity.
Moving towards the interior of the island, between the provinces of Catania and Enna, we find the Lake Pozzillo, from here you can enjoy the stunning views of Mount Etna. The Salso river and other minor watercourses flow into this lake, it is also possible to row in it.
If you want to enjoy other sports you have to go to Lake Nicoletti. It is just 50 km away from lake Pozzillo and was created
after the construction of a dam on the Dittaino. During the summer it is very crowded, predominantly by
people who like to surf and fish for sport.
Further on, near Enna, we find Lake Pergusa one of the few remaining natural lakes in Sicily. This lake is fed by groundwater and rain: it has no inlets or outlets and the water level changes only through evaporation. The residual accumulated salts make its waters brackish. You may also witness a very special phenomenon: the lake’s waters turns bright red. Don’t be afraid, it’s nothing supernatural: the phenomenon is caused by one of the lake’s tenants, a crayfish, which produces a red pigment to protect itself from the rays of the sun.
Moving towards western Sicily, near Sciacca, close to the Sicani Mountains and in the middle of a lush forest, we find the beautiful Arancio Lake. From its shores it is possible to admire the Fortino di Mazzallakkar, these are the ruins of a submerged Arab construction, which is in an area full of water mills. Not far from the lake there’s a canyon called “Gole della Tardara” a stunning gorge carved by the Carboj river.
In a hidden valley of the province of Trapani, there is the Preola and Gorghi Tondi Natural Reserve. This place is characterised by a series of small lakes covering an area of 335 hectares from Mazara del Vallo to Torre Granitola. Arriving from Mazara, you first come across the dry basin of Lake Murana, then you reach Lake Preola and afterwards you come across three circular ponds called Gorghi (Upper, Middle and Lower) . A thick vegetation surrounds these water mirrors and a rich variety of birds inhabits the area. Even though the lakes are not suitable for swimming, they are perfect places for birdwatching. Following a path through the lush Mediterranean scrub, on the Lower Gorgo there is also an observatory that can be reached by disabled people.
Going up, close to Palermo, near the territory of Caccamo, we can find lake of Rosamarina. It is one of the largest lakes of Sicily and it is fed by the river San Leonardo. The calm waters of this lake hide the Brancato Bridge, a 14th-century bridge belonging to the castle of Caccamo, which has been completely sunk during the construction of the dam.
Finally, let’s not forget the islands, in this case Pantelleria, where we find a natural lake called Specchio di Venere (Venus’s Mirror). The waters of this lake are highly sulphurous because it lies on top of an old volcanic caldera. Its mud is used in thermal treatments because it has incredible healing properties for the skin.
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