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Italy - Sicily - Salina - Windmills at Stagnone di Marsala in front of Mozia Island - Salt plant in the area of Trapani | by © Lucie Debelkova /
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Italy - Sicily - Salina - Windmills at Stagnone di Marsala in front of Mozia Island - Salt plant in the area of Trapani

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Trapani and Marsala are famous for more than wine and seafood. Trapani, in particular, boasts some of Europe's oldest salt marshes, and is still home to some of the windmills once used to drain water from the basins (containing ponds). Drawing salt from water remains a slow process, similar to desalination, something talked about more and more with the serious water supply problems confronting Sicily. The evaporation procedure utilises the flat marshlands of Trapani's coast and the long, dry Sicilian summers. Salt extraction was a technology known to the ancient Egyptians, and in Sicily dates at least from the time of the Greeks and Romans. It has flourished in the Trapani area unto the present day, not for a lack of "dry" salt deposits in Sicily (where there are several mines), but because many cooks prefer sea salt to that harvested from other sources. The windmills, however, were a medieval development.


The port and the coast of Trapani were important as tuna fishing and salt production. It became the principle activities of Trapani and its surrounding areas. Tuna fishing plants sprung up all over the area and many of these evocative, generally crumbling structures can still be seen in San Giuliano, San Cusumano, Isola di Formica, Favignana, Bonagia, San Vito Lo Cap and Scopello. The mattanza (culling) of tuna still takes place off the Egadi Islands and has become something of a tourist event for those brave enough to witness a literally wine-dark sea. The excellent quality of the salt produced in the salt pans was internationally renowned and was exported, amongst other places, to Norway where it was used to cure cod.


Camera Model: Canon EOS 5D Mark II; Lens: EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM; Focal length: 67.00 mm; Aperture: 13; Exposure time: 10.0 s; ISO: 100


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Taken on April 1, 2012