The Vendicari wetland is a protected area along the Ionian coast between Noto and Portopalo di Capo Passero, where ponds, marshes, beaches and old salt flats attract wildlife. It could be a destination for a mountain-bike excursion on dirt and asphalt roads from Noto station along the Syracuse-Ragusa line.
Once you reach the access road to the reserve, you can make use of the nature trails. One of the most picturesque leads to the 18th-century tuna fishery and the Swabian Tower. A second path passes by the wildlife observatories in the Roveto Swamp and leads to the Maccari citadel, where the remains of a Byzantine-era settlement can be seen. A third arrives at the secluded beach of Calamosche, between low cliffs. The presence of animals pervades everything, especially that of migratory birds in transit to and from Africa.
The naturalist destination merely hints at the site ofHolorus, a city of Syracuse at the end of the eighth century BC, of which the theatre, a temple and parts of the walls remain. If you then return to Noto by a partially different route, reaching and crossing the provincial road toPachino and continuing along the road that leads to the district of San Paolo, you can leave the asphalt after a mile and bear right along a country road flanked by dry stone walls. At the end, you come to the Roman villa of Tellaro, a complex of spaces around a peristyle where rich floor mosaics have been found. One of them with hunting scenes, from the fourth century, is similar to the more famous ones in Piazza Armerina.