Natural Reserve of the sources of the Ciane and Saine Rivers of Siracusa

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

English translation by Umberto Mucci (

In Sicily, 5 miles west of Siracusa, surrounded by orange trees and vineyards, is the Nature Reserve of Ciane river and Saline of Siracusa. The name Ciane has Greek origins and draws the blue-green colour of its waters (“Cyanos”). The reserve includes the river, which originates in Cugno Cardinale and flows into the great harbour of Siracusa, and the wet area of the salt marshes.

Established by the Department of Environment and Territory of the Sicily Region in 1984, the reserve is oriented to the preservation of the papyrus.

The reserve covers 317 hectares of marshland and flat land, characterized by marshy vegetation and citrus groves, crossed by a route running through small bridges or browsing directly on the water. The reserve can be observed from the archaeological site of the Temple of Olympian Zeus, located in an elevated position at a short distance.


The vegetation along the banks formed by riparian plants, among which dominates the Cyperus papyrus var. siculus, from which are extracted natural fibres for the production of papyrus paper: according to recent studies, it seems that it is indigenous of Sicily. The stems, 3-4 meters high, topped by tuft inflorescences, create an African environment.

We can also find the common reed (Phragmites australis), purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), water mint (Mentha aquatica), watercress (Nasturtium officinale), pendulous sedge (Carex pendula) and pond sedge (Carex riparia).
Ash trees, poplars and willows are the kind of tree surrounding the papyrus.

The reserve hosts many migratory birds such as black-winged stilts (Himantopus himantopus), common moorhens (Gallinula chloropus), and little bitterns (Lxobrychus minutus); waterbird species include flamingos, grey herons, red herons, mallards, and teals.

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)


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