Vendicari and Marzamemi, Sicily • Italy

Discover Vendicari, a jewel of Sicily, in less than 4 minutes. This immersive video will transport you to the heart of this nature reserve, a sanctuary for migratory birds, nestled between rocky, sandy shores and cultivated land. Discover the fascinating history of tuna fishing in the region, walking through the ruins of the ancient tonnara of Vendicari, which tell of an industrious and tumultuous past. Take a detour to the quaint fishing village of Marzamemi, once an essential tuna fishing port, now a charming tourist attraction. From natural history to tradition, from industry to local cuisine, immerse yourself in the living story of Sicily.

This film was made on the basis of photos and videos taken during the trip Italy: Seductive Sicily 2022

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Reading the text below will help you better understand the natural context of the images in this video.

Vendicari 

Sicily has several nature reserves including that of Vendicari near Noto. 

This nature reserve is an important resting place for migrating birds, offering fresh and brackish wetlands and marshes, providing abundant food for waders such as herons and flamingos who congregate there every year to autumn. 

This reserve is relatively recent, since it was created in 1989. 

In addition to these wetlands, the Vendicari reserve features rocky shores, sandy shores and cultivated land, but also historical monuments such as the old cooperage, a watchtower and a Byzantine temple and necropolis. 

 

tuna fishing 

 

If you find a tonnara (tuna canneriie) in Vendicari (which means "the avengers"), it is because the tuna fishing industry had taken on great importance there over the last millennium, but especially from of the 10th century largely under the impulse of the Arabs who had conquered Sicily. 

 

The Tonnara of Vendicari 

 

Among the buildings found in Vendicari, the old tonara, where fish caught from the fishy coasts of southern Sicily were systematically slaughtered before being salted and preserved in oil. 

The Tonnara of Vendicari, which was also called "Bafutu" or the Tonnara of Cape Bojuto was intended to process tuna after the spawning season. The ruins of the tonnara of Vendicari date from the 17th century. 

It was sold by King Philip IV of Austria to a judge of the royal court of Palermo, along with several other tonnaras, including that of Marzamemi. The administration of the factory was entrusted to the Nicolaci dei Principi de Villadorata family who made tuna fishing the center of their business which prospered until the middle of the 19th century, when the scarcity of resources and the increase taxes pushed the family to abandon Vendicari, thus losing the right to restart it later, when conditions improved. 

A 30-year concession was granted to Count Antonino Modica Munafo di San Giovanni, who began a long process of modernizing the facilities with a decidedly more industrial approach. 

Unfortunately the two world wars were fatal to the tonnara, damaged during the first and looted during the second... The tonnara of Vendicari closed its doors definitively in 1944. 

The buildings that remain today were used for the storage and processing of fish, including salting rooms and workshops. The factory operated until the beginning of the 20th century, before being abandoned and finally incorporated into the nature reserve. 

 

Marzamemi 

 

Tuna fishing was for a very long time the main industry of the region, and many localities lived essentially from this fishing. Like for example the fishing village of Marzamemi which was one of the most important tuna fishing ports in the region. Nowadays, this village which has kept its authentic and traditional character has become an important tourist place, and instead of catching fish, it is prepared in the kitchens of the many restaurants with terraces bathed in sunshine. 

Marzamemi has a long history of fishing, especially tuna fishing. The village is also home to an old "tonnara", a historic tuna factory which was in operation between the 18th century and the middle of the 20th century. 

The historic center of the village features traditional Sicilian architecture, with brightly colored houses, cobbled streets and a welcoming atmosphere. Piazza Regina Margherita, the village's main square, is surrounded by old buildings, restaurants and shops. 

The village is also recognized for its gastronomy, based mainly on seafood and tuna. The area is also covered with vineyards.

 

Spoken comments in the film: 

Vendicari in the south-east of Sicily, like the rest of the region, has practiced tuna fishing since antiquity and this activity has grown enormously since the conquest by the Arabs in the 10th century. A tonnara (tuna factory) has canned tons of tuna over the centuries. Nowadays, it is in ruins and constitutes an interesting visit in the natural reserve welcoming many migratory birds, created in 1989.

What's the weather like in Vendicari?

 

Music:

 - YouTube video library - Lost Love Song 

 

 • • Disclaimer: As traditional music is often subject to copyright (claimed by major music distribution groups), the musical illustration of this film "Vendicari and Marzamemi,  Sicily • Italy" does not use typical music of Italy but is borrowed from a collection of royalty-free music. Despite the painstaking care given to the musical choices in this film, some people may regret this choice, but it is the price to pay for not incurring unnecessary lawsuits. This decision was difficult to take, but it's the only viable solution, unfortunately. • •

Vendicari and Marzamemi, Sicily • Italy, Vendicari, Sicily • Italy
a view of the old tuna factory, Vendicari • Italy • Sicily

a view of the old tuna factory

a view of the marshes, Vendicari • Italy • Sicily

a view of the marshes

a square in Marzamemi, Vendicari • Italy • Sicily

a square in Marzamemi

the tuna factory seen from the beach, Vendicari • Italy • Sicily

the tuna factory seen from the beach

Vendicari, Marzami - Sicily • Italy

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