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Saline Ettore ed Infersa close to Mozia

July 8, 2018

A visit to the Western Coast of Sicily takes the traveler to the coastline which lies between the towns of Marsala and Trapani. This area has been known for its tradition of extracting salt from the sea.

Just a thirty-minute drive north of Marsala, driving along the coast, one can visit the Ettore and Infersa salt work, which lies adjacent to the Riserva Naturale Orientata delle Isole dello Stagnone, Stagnone Islands Natural Reserve. In this specific location, the practice of salt extraction is still carried out manually, in the traditional manner. This traditional practice differs from the mechanized process found up the coast close to the town of Trapani. I recently visited the Ettore and Infersa salt works and enjoyed learning about the rich tradition of salt making and walking along the various ponds , “vasche”, which hold the seawater at different stages of the process of salt making.

Salt making season usually runs from the end of March to July, but climate change has had an impact on some of the practices of salt making and I learned that this year the final harvesting of salt may be delayed due to rain at unexpected times.

Each salt work facility has a curator who diligently plans the various steps to allow the seawater to enter specific ponds on the soil created by building a low levee between each pond, le “vasche”. At Ettore ed Infresca salt work the current curator is carrying on a long family tradition.

From the very first pond the seawater enters to the final one, the seawater undergoes a natural chemical process which is monitored constantly by the curator. It was interesting to learn that the traditional practice of extracting the salt manually allows the salt to maintain its iodine content thus producing whole salt.   When the mechanical process is utilized in extracting the salt, the salt is depleted of its iodine and it is necessary to add iodine to the final product, which is iodized salt.

The following photos taken at the Ettore ed Infresca Salt Works near Marsala

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Salt mounds seen from a canal that runs between the ponds

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A mound of salt from the previous season’s harvest covered with terracotta tiles for protection

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More salt works ponds seen from the canal

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The 16th century windmill adjacent to the salt works ponds seen from the ponds

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A stroll along the borders between the ponds

salt works vasche

 

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Inside the 16th century windmill

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Salt works viewed from high above at the windmill building- terracotta tiles on ground next to salt mounds waiting to be placed on top of the salt mounds

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